Upcoming Road Trip Will Be a Big Test for Toronto Blue Jays

Mohammad ArshadCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2014

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 2: Edwin Encarnacion #10 of the Toronto Blue Jays is congratulated by teammates at home plate after hitting a game-winning three-run home run in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 2, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

With a two-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers, the Toronto Blue Jays (47-39) wrapped up a nine-game homestand with a 5-4 record and managed to hold on to the top spot in the American League East.

It doesn’t get any easier from here on out, though, as Toronto will now play all 10 of its remaining games before the All-Star break on the road against some tough teams.

The Blue Jays will first play a four-game set against the Oakland A’s at the O.co Coliseum starting Thursday. This promises to be a tough series, as the AL West-leading A’s (51-33) have the best record in baseball.

While Toronto’s offense has been the team’s biggest strength this season and ranks fourth in baseball in runs scored, Oakland’s offense has been even better. The A’s have scored the most runs in the majors and rank second in the league in OBP. Oakland’s starting rotation also leads the AL with a 3.37 ERA.

One piece of good news for the Blue Jays here is that they’ve already swept the A’s this season when the two teams last met.

Following the series with Oakland, Toronto will travel to Angel Stadium for a three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels.

The Angels have the third-best record in the AL and have a very good 26-14 record at home. This is another well-balanced team that plays well in all facets of the game. It ranks third in the AL in runs scored and sixth in staff ERA.

Toronto has already lost three of four against the Angels earlier this season at the Rogers Centre.

Finally, the Blue Jays will wrap up their Western road trip with three games against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field.

Despite being expected to be a contending team heading into the season, the Rays currently find themselves in last place in the AL East. Injuries have played a huge part in Tampa Bay’s struggles, and the team has lost some of its key players such as Matt Moore and Will Myers for an extended period of time.

Regardless of their record, though, the Rays have played the Blue Jays tough these past few years and are not to be taken lightly. Toronto has famously not won a series at Tropicana Field since 2007.

With the Baltimore Orioles just one game back, it is crucial for Toronto to do well in this upcoming road trip if it wants to retain the top spot in the AL East heading into the All-Star break.


*All stats are from MLB.com.