The Toronto Blue Jays — a punchline earlier this season as a team with a big offseason that slumped into last place — have turned things around in the serious way the last few weeks.
The Jays have rattled off 11 straight wins, making them relevant in the AL East again and making people wonder if we'll see these Jays the rest of the season and if the underachieving Jays have been sent to Antarctica.
1. The Blue Jays haven't lost since June 10, when they were beaten 10-6 by the Chicago White Sox. Overall, Toronto is 15-4 in June.
2. The 11-game winning streak is the longest in MLB since 2011 when the Detroit Tigers won 12. It also ties a franchise record, which the Jays achieved in 1987 and 1998.
3. Before the streak started, the Jays were 27-36 and in fifth place in the AL East, 12 games behind first-place Boston. Going into Monday's game, they're 38-36. They're still in fourth place, but they're only five games back of Boston in their very tight division.
4. During the streak, the Blue Jays have outscored opponents 70-27.
5. They haven't been playing slouches either. The 11 wins have come against the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and Colorado Rockies. By sweeping all three teams, the Blue Jays swept three consecutive series for the first since 1998.
6. Edwin Encarnacion is not surprised by his team's success:
"I've been waiting for this since the season started,'' he said after Sunday's win. ''I believe in this team so I knew things had to change, things had to become good for us. That's the way right now and we enjoy it, enjoy the moment. I'm not surprised by this. I know this team is good and I know we can do it.''
7. Encarnacion has been the hottest hitter for the Jays too: He's 14-for-40 during the streak with four homers and 12 RBIs.
8. Another guy to praise: relief pitcher Brett Cecil, who hasn't given up a run for the Jays out of the bullpen in the last 19.2 innings.
9. The winning streak makes the Jays the first team to go over .500 because of a 10-game winning streak this far into a season since the 1979 Indians.
10. Fans are already remembering the good ol' days of the early '90s. From The Blue Jay Hunter blog:
"I wonder if this how it must have felt during those World Series runs in 1992 and 1993. After all, the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays were never swept in a series the entire season. And that team never lost more than five straight games.
"This may only be a small 11 game sample, but the losses in those banner years like 1992 and 1993 were so few and far between that it seemed like the Blue Jays didn't even have time to dwell over losses. That's because they were already well on their way to their next win."
11. The week ahead is big: The Blue Jays play seven games against division foes Tampa Bay and Boston — three against the Rays starting on Monday and four against the Red Sox starting Thursday. That's the same day star shortstop Jose Reyes returns from injury.
Could the stars be aligning for the Jays to make a run at first place?
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