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The Blue Jays first 11 game win streak

George Bell, the 1987 AL MVP.
George Bell, the 1987 AL MVP.

Two other times the Toronto Blue Jays have had 11 game winning streaks. I thought it would be worth taking a look at those two streaks. Today we'll look at the first one.

June 2nd to 13th 1987

On the morning of June 2nd 1987, the Blue Jays were in 2 place in the AL East, 2 games back of the godless Yankees. We had a pretty decent team then. The outfield of Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moesby and George Bell. An infield of Willie Upshaw, Manny Lee, Tony Fernandez and Kelly Gruber. Ernie Whitt was our catcher. Jimmy Key, Jim Clancy and Dave Stieb led the starting rotation (the three of them had 16 complete games between them). Tom Henke would pick up 34 saves.

Let's look at the games:

  1. June 2: 4-3 over the Mariners. Jim Clancy would only go 4.1 innings, giving up 3 earned. He started the 5th, giving up a single, and two doubles. After a ground out, manager Jimy 'one m' Williams had seen enough and Jeff Musselman came in to pitch 2.1 scoreless innings and Tommy Henke pitched a 7 out save, allowing just 1 baserunner (a walk) in 2.1, while striking out 4. On offense, we had 9 hits, including a solo homer from Bell, his 17th. Jays of the Day were Musselman (.249 WPA ) and Henke (.368).
  2. June 3: 7-2 over the Mariners. Dave Stieb got the win, with 5.2 innings, 4 hits, 2 earned. Mark Eichhorn pitched the last 3.1, scoreless, for the save. Relievers these days are wimps. On offense, Cecil Fielder (#4) hit a 2 run homer and Moseby (#8) had a solo shot. JoD: Stieb (.148), Eichhorn (.120), Barfield (.113) and Fielder (.107).
  3. June 5: 6-2 over the Orioles. Jimmy Key pitched a complete game. We had 3 home runs, solos from Fielder (#5) and Barfield (#13) (who was 3 for 5) and a 2-run shot from Bell. JoD Key (.220), Bell (.129) and Gruber (.126).
  4. June 6: 8-5 over the O's. Joe Johnson started but gave up 5 hits, while just getting 2 outs. He was followed by John Cerutti, Eichhorn, Gary Lavelle, Henke and Musselman who got the win. We had homers from Charlie Moore (#1) and Barfield (#14). JoD: Moore (.445, 2 for 2), Fernandez (.298), Henke (.229), Musselman (.219), Barfield (.148) and Cerutti (.106).
  5. June 7: 3-2 over the O's. Clancy went 8.2, allowing 10 hits and 4 walks, but only 2 runs. Eichhorn got the last out and the win. Hardly seems fair. Ernie Whitt hit a 2-run home in the 2nd, Garth Iorg hit a walk-off single in the 9th. JoD: Clancy (.396), Iorg (.273) and Whitt (.185)
  6. June 8: 11-0 over the Yankees. The game that moved us into first. Stieb pitched 7 scoreless for the win, making him 5-3. Homers from Whitt (#5), Fred McGriff (his rookie year, #4), Bell hit 2 (#20). JoD: Stieb (.244) and McGriff (.208).
  7. June 9: 7-2 over the Yankees. Cerutti went 5.2 scoreless to get the win. Barfield hit his 15th against Ron Guidry, and drove in 3. Lee and Bell each went 3 for 4. JoD: Cerutti (.242), Lee (.218) and Barfield (.163).
  8. June 10: 4-1 over the Yankees: Key (8-3) got the win, 7.2, 5 hits, 1 unearned run, Henke pitched the final 4 outs for his 10th save. Bell hit a 3-run homer (#21). JoD: Key (.387), Bell (.153) and Henke (.103).
  9. June 11: 8-6 over the Orioles. Joe Johnson got the win, giving up 4 earned in 6.1, Eichhorn got the hold, and Henke picked up his 11th save. Home runs from Gruber (#4) and 2 from Bell (#22 and 23). Bell drove in 6 runs. JoD: Bell (.339), Eichhorn (.208), Johnson (.108), Gruber (.101) and Henke (.-.098).
  10. June 12: 8-5 over the O's. Clancy went 6 innings and left with a lead, but Gary Lavelle and Eichhorn blew it for him. Eichhorn ended up getting the win (and a blown save) while getting just 1 out. Musselman picked up his 2nd save, pitching 2 perfect innings, striking out 2. Upshaw hit is 7th and Moseby hit his 10th home run and drove in 3, Fernandez went 2 for 4 and drove in 2. JoD: Fernandez (.261), Moseby (.235), Musselman (.192), Clancy (.132), Gruber (.101) and Whitt (.100).
  11. June 13: Cerutti pitched a complete game, allowing 5 hits and 2 earned. Home runs from Gruber (#5, solo), Fernandez (#3, solo) and Barfield (#16, 3 run). Fernandez went 4 for 5, had 2 steals and scored 3 runs, Gruber went 3 for 4 and Moseby took 3 walks. JoD: Cerutti (.261), Fernandez (.195) and Moore (.186).

I think George Bell was the star of the streak, he had 7 home runs and 18 RBI over the 11 games and a .311 batting average. Jesse Barfield had 14 RBI, with 4 home runs and a .267 average. On the pitching side, Tom Henke pitched 7.1 scoreless innings, allowing 6 hits, 1 walk, with 12 strikeouts. He had 3 saves, one of them a 7 out save.

When we started the streak we were 2 game back of first, after it was over we were 3 games up.

Unfortunately, that was the season we lost our last 7 games, and saw the Tigers pass us and take first. I still hate Bill Madlock.

For the Jays. George Bell led the league in RBI with 134, he also led the league in total bases 369 and was second in home runs with 47. Bell was the AL MVP that year.

Jimmy Key led the AL with a 2.76 ERA and Jim Clancy was 7th with a 3.54 ERA. Mark Eichhorn led in games pitched with 89 and Henke led in saves with 34. Tom also had 8 blown saves and 5 losses with no wins.

The Jays would have another 11 game win streak in 1998, we'll look at that one later in the week.