Blue Jays' Superman still has super hopes for season
Toronto Blue Jays' Kevin Pillar runs to third on Darwin Barney's single during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Houston Astros, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Despite a season that in Kevin Pillar’s words has been a “disaster” so far, the struggling Blue Jays centre fielder has a warning for fans: Don’t give up yet.
And as unlikely as it seems, the American League standings back it up.
With the Jays' 4-0 shutout win over the Yankees on Thursday at the Rogers Centre - on the backs of a stellar Marco Estrada outing on the mound - and a Seattle loss on the West Coast, Toronto is just four games out of an AL wildcard spot.
“I think it’s only a matter of time before this team goes on a nice winning streak, a nice stretch,” Pillar said. “We’ve got about a month and a half left and we’re finally getting everyone healthy and you’re starting to see some signs of guys swinging the bat good.
“Some of our pitchers that were struggling a little bit earlier are figuring it out.”
Pillar knows that expert standings-watchers will point out there are too many teams between them and the second AL wild-card spot - five in fact - for the team to have realistic hopes.
To counter, the Jays centre fielder argues that big series coming up against divisional rivals Baltimore and Tampa could alter the doomsday thinking. Obviously the team needs to go on an extended run, starting with a weekend series against the Pittsburgh Pirates beginning Friday at the Rogers Centre.
But with a 6-4 record in their past 10 and Josh Donaldson and Jose Bautista (three home runs in his past four games) heating up at the plate, Pillar insists it isn’t out of the question.
“It’s been kind of a disaster this season, up until this point as far as our record is concerned, as far as keeping guys on the field,” said Pillar, who had an RBI single in the fourth on Thursday. “Whenever we had a little bit of momentum, we’d blow a game or get blown out two consecutive games.
“Despite everything that’s gone on, we’re still just about four games back of a wild card. There’s opportunity to gain ground on teams ahead of us.”
Pillar, who had an RBI single in Thursday’s win, also explained why he’s going with the nickname “PILL” on the back of his jersey for MLB Players Weekend later this month.
“Unfortunately, Superman is trademarked so I can’t use it,” Pillar wrote on his official Twitter account.