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Op-Ed: The best plays of the year from the Toronto Blue Jays

By Michael Thomas     Oct 5, 2015 in Sports
Here at Digital Journal, we're unapologetic Blue Jays fans. As the team heads into the playoffs for the first time in 22 years, here's a look at the best Blue Jays plays of 2015 season, right through the batting roster and including one great pitcher.
As of Sunday night, the Blue Jays finally learned their playoff fate: their American League Division Series opponents will be the Texas Rangers. The team will start playing Thursday, but until then, here's a look at some memorable moments from arguably the most exciting team in baseball, featuring key performances from everyone in the team's daily rotation.
Jose Bautista
The leader in number of home runs since 2010 is mostly known for his ability to smash baseballs out of orbit, but on Sept. 22, he proved he's a huge presence in the outfield, too. Despite nursing a sore shoulder for several months (forcing him into the designated hitter position for a long stretch), he made two tremendous throws to take runs away from the Yankees. In the above video, he throws a deadly accurate strike to nab Chris Young at the plate. Not much later, Bautista threw another cannon to nab Dustin Ackley at third base.
Edwin Encarnacion
Speaking of home-run hitters, Encarnacion had a truly magical day on Aug. 29, as part of a three-game dismantling of the slumping Detroit Tigers. The hitting machine racked up a career-high nine RBIs on three homers, including a grand slam. On his third homer, the hockey-loving hometown crowd threw their hats onto the field for the "hat trick."
Josh Donaldson
The "race" for MVP this season seems to be down to either Mike Trout of the LA Angels or Josh Donaldson. The Jays third baseman has had such a tremendous season that he gets two videos, one for offence and one for defence, Above, Donaldson demonstrates his flair for the dramatic with a walk-off home run on Sept. 27, the last home game for the Blue Jays. Donaldson has hit three walk-off homers this season.
Donaldson has been tremendous defensively, too. On June 24, pticher Marco Estrada had a perfect game going into the eighth inning, and to preserve that dream, Josh Donaldson made a spectacular catch in foul territory that sent him leaping into the seats.
Russell Martin
The Canadian catcher has thrown out plenty of baserunners this year, but his most memorable moment this year comes from his offence. On Sept. 23 the Jays held a slim 1-0 lead against the Yankees, but at the bottom of the 7th Russell Martin blew the game open with this towering three-run shot. It was such a huge moment, even the game's French-language broadcasters were screaming themselves hoarse.
Troy Tulowtizki
Though Tulowitzki has hit below .250 since being traded from the Colorado Rockies, he made quite the first impression when he started on July 29. His sterling offensive effort saw him hit two doubles and one homer.
Justin Smoak
Smoak is a do-or-die kind of guy; either he'll smash the ball out of the park or strike out trying. On July 1 to a Canada day crowd, Smoak joined a small number of Jays who managed to hit homers from both sides of the plate in a single game.
Chris Colabello
Though he hasn't gotten as much playing time at first base, Colabello always makes an offensive mark. He definitely earned his "clutch Colabello" nickname on June 7 against the Astros. Despite being down 6-4 at the bottom of the ninth, a combination of smart base running and very odd plays had the Jays in position to walk off. Walk off they did, when Colabello came through with a single to score two.
Kevin Pillar
Pillar has more than once this year been called a human highlight reel — he's made so many unbelievable catches that he could fill an article of his own. But no catch comes close to the jaw-dropping catch he made on April 15 to rob Tim Beckham of a home run. With quick thinking, he scaled the Roger Centre's 10-foot wall and scooped up the baseball.
But let us not forget his June 2 feat: not only did he record his first multi-homer game, he also hit both blasts off the Nationals' elite pitcher, Max Scherzer (you know, the guy who threw two no-hitters this season?).
Ryan Goins
Goins has had a great season filling the hole left by Devon Travis, who missed most of the season due to injury. Besides having tremendous range in the infield, he got his first-ever walk-off home run on Sept. 1. After former Blue Jay Yan Gomes hit a solo homer to tie up the game at 3-3, Goins ended the game with a two-run shot at the bottom of the tenth.
Ben Revere
Though Ben Revere hasn't been scaling walls or hitting 500-foot homers, he's been a valuable asset to the Jays. During a nine-game hit streak he hit for an astonishing .514 and has been a reliable presence in left field. On his debut as a Blue Jay on Aug. 1 he didn't record a hit, but he did endear himself to fans quickly when he made the above catch that sent him off-balance.
David Price
Price has been all the Blue Jays could ask for and more, and most baseball experts think either he or the Astros' Dallas Keuchel will win the American League Cy Young Award. There's perhaps no more memorable feat of pitching than his first game as a Blue Jay on Aug. 3. He struck out 11 during eight frames, allowing just one earned run on a solo homer from Torii Hunter.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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