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The Great Winning Streak of 2008

The last men standing from the 2008 winning streak
The last men standing from the 2008 winning streak
Rick Yeatts

If you are reading this website, you are probably aware that the Blue Jays are currently riding a ten game winning streak (if you are not aware, I'm not sure what you're doing on Bluebird Banter, to be honest).

The wonderful excitement and general optimism that comes with winning streaks is one of my favourite things about them (after, you know, the winning part), and the past few days have made me nostalgic for the first ten game winning streak I experienced as a Blue Jays fan.

The year was 2008, and the record was 68-66, and the date was August 30. With a record like that in late August, that the team was not in contention is fairly obvious. I, however, was fourteen years old, and in my first full season of being a baseball fan. I still had things like hope and optimism. The Jays proceeded to win ten games in a row and...not make the playoffs that year. But it was fun while it lasted! So let's take a trip down memory lane and remember the 2008-10-game-winning-streak Toronto Blue Jays.

The Lineup

Only two people from the 2008 team still remain with the Blue Jays today, and they are Adam Lind (who currently has a 160 OPS+, by the way), and Jose Bautista, who was still a journeyman utility player (he played first base, third base, DH, and he pinch hit during the ten game winning streak, and he only appeared in half the games).

The lineup was certainly not a force to be reckoned with. On August 30th (the day the winning streak began), Joe Inglett was leading off, followed by David Eckstein in the 2 spot. Inglett had an important role in that first game, though: with the Jays down 6-2 in the top of the seventh, the team got a rally going (helped along by singles from Lind and Bautista). With one out and the bases loaded, Inglett hit a two run single, and the Jays went on to score the winning run in the next inning. They beat the Yankees 7-6.

Everyone's favourite catcher, Gregg Zaun, did most of the catching duties in 2008, and he got to have his very own moment of glory during the winning streak: with two men on and two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning of a 4-4 tie vs. the Tampa Bay Rays, Zaun hit a walkoff home run to win the game for the Blue Jays and extend their winning streak to seven games.

The Pitchers

The best performance from a pitcher during the streak belongs to Jesse Litsch. He pitched a complete game four hit shutout vs. the Twins, extending the the win streak to five games (the offense had a great game, too, putting up nine runs on Kevin Slowey and the Twins' bullpen).

Roy Halladay pitched two times throughout the ten games, and both were typical starts for Doc. Over the two games, he gave up only three earned runs, and struck out a total of ten batters.

The award for worst pitching performance during the ten game streak belongs to David Purcey, who gave up five runs and walked two in only three innings of work. The Jays managed to beat the Twins 7-5 in spite of Purcey's struggles, thanks to home runs from Alex Rios and Lyle Overbay.

And then it ended

The streak ended on September 10th, in a game vs the playoff bound Chicago White Sox. The Jays were facing Mark Buehrle, who pitched into the eighth inning and gave up only one run. The White Sox got Roy Halladay on a rare bad day. He gave up nine hits and five earned runs in six innings (but still struck out eight), and the streak came to an end, as all of them must.

Let's hope the winning streak the Blue Jays are riding right now can go a convenient eight more games.