Toronto Blue Jays are hottest team in baseball

Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /

The cluster that was the American League East was just waiting for some team to separate from the pack. Of all five teams, the Toronto Blue Jays might have been the least likely team of the bunch to rise to the top. Yet here we are, on May 25th, and Toronto holds a 2.5 game lead at the top of the division.

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To get there they have won eight of their last 10 games and five straight. That includes a series win over the early juggernaut that is the Oakland Athletics; on Sunday they will try to make that series win a sweep.

So how have they done it? To the surprise of some people they have put together this winning streak with a balance of good hitting and good pitching. The good hitting, keyed by the power of Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista, was expected from this team, especially when they play at home at the Rogers Centre. The good pitching, however, comes as a bit of a surprise.

Mark Buehrle projected as a savvy, middle-of-the-rotation guy but probably nothing more. All he has done is go 8-1 and put himself in line to start the All-Star Game. R.A. Dickey has shown enough signs of dominance, including an 8+ inning outing against the A’s on Saturday night, to give the Jays legitimate hope about the top of their rotation.

That’s not to mention the good work of Drew Hutchison (121 ERA+) and guys in the bullpen like Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil, and Steve Delabar, as well as the return of Casey Janssen at closer.

The Blue Jays stand to be formidable for the long haul if they get good pitching to go along with their thumping lineup. That has been the case for the last two weeks. With that, the least likely team of the bunch sits atop the AL East.