The Toronto Blue Jays have won four of their past five games, and moved into first place in the American League East, one-half game ahead of the New York Yankees, once again on the bat of third baseman Josh Donaldson, who continues to make a strong case for AL MVP.
Donaldson tacked on a big league-best 13 RBIs in just five games this week to add to his Major League-leading total of 100. His 34 home runs are tied for second in the Majors – and the Junior Circuit – and he slugged three over the past five games, second-most in the big leagues behind Miguel Sano of the Minnesota Twins and Khris Davis of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Over the past week, Donaldson’s .524 batting average is second-best in baseball, behind Oakland Athletics rookie Mark Canha and Detroit Tigers vet Miguel Cabrera, who each hit .542 over the past seven days.
Donaldson’s .560 on-base percentage tied for third-best in the big leagues with Canha, behind Cabrera (.567) and Canha (.571).
With a big league-best 24 total bases (also tied with Canha), Donaldson tallied seven extra-base hits – the most in the Major Leagues – in just five games, helping him to a 1.143 slugging percentage (also tops, a full .143 ahead of Canha) and a 1.703 OPS (again, best in the Majors, ahead of Canha’s 1.560).
Donaldson started the week by punishing the Philadelphia Phillies in interleague action, going 3-for-4 with three runs and four RBI, smacking two home runs, including a three-run job in the sixth, which helped power a five-run rally that lifted the Blue Jays to an 8-5 win over the Phillies.
After taking an 0-for-4 collar in a 7-4 loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday, Donaldson got back into the swing of things with a pair of doubles, one run and three more RBIs as Toronto rolled to a 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
The Blue Jays continued their road swing with another pair against the Halos, downing Mike Scioscia’s struggling bunch by a combined total of 27-5, with Donaldson going 6-for-10 with five runs scored and six RBIs. All of his RBIs came on Aug. 22, when he went 4-for-5 with a three-run homer in the top of the third, a two-run single in a seven-run top of the fourth for Toronto and a double to left in the top of the fifth against reliever Cam Bedrosian.
Donaldson currently ranks in the top three in two of the three Triple Crown categories (home runs and RBI), and is 11th in the American League with a .302 batting average. With another hot week or two, Donaldson – who added .006 to his average over his hot streak -- could easily catch AL batting leaders Prince Fielder and Jason Kipnis (.320). After hitting .295 in the month of July, Donaldson’s hitting a blistering .342 in August.