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2006 Toronto Blue Jays

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Toronto Blue Jays
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Record: 87-75, Finished 2rd in AL Eastern Division (2006 AL)

Managed by John Gibbons

Coaches: Brad Arnsberg, Mickey Brantley, Brian Butterfield, Marty Pevey, Bruce Walton and Ernie Whitt

Ballpark: Rogers Centre

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The 2006 Toronto Blue Jays won more games with 87 then any Jays team since 1998 while finishing second in the AL East for the first time since winning the World Series in 1993. Despite these improvements they still were 8 games behind the Detroit Tigers in the race for the Wild Card.

Entering the season the Jays were especially optimistic with their potential pitching staff which featured four starters who had ERAs below 4 from last season (including Roy Halladay who only made 19 starts in 2005). The list also included Gustavo Chacin, A.J. Burnett, and Josh Towers) as well as six relievers who had managed the same mark (Scott Schoeneweis, Jason Frasor, Justin Speier, Vinnie Chulk, Pete Walker, and newly acquired closer B.J. Ryan). However injuries to Burnett and Chacin, as well as the meltdown of Josh Towers (who went from a 13-12 with a 3.71 ERA in 2005 to a 2-10 mark with a 8.42 ERA in 2006) created huge holes in the rotation and forced the bullpen to be overworked. Rookie starters Casey Janssen, Shaun Marcum and Ty Taubenheim were forced to make a total of 38 starts, in which the Blue Jays were only 15-23.

Despite their disappointments in pitching, the Blue Jays put together one of the best offenses in years. Their .284 team batting average was a franchise best; their .348 team on-base percentage matched their 1993 franchise best and their .463 team slugging percentage was their second highest of all-time, only topped by the .469 SLG they put up in 2000[1]. While impressive, these numbers did prove to be deceptively good as the Jays finished the season with only 809 runs scored, which was only enough to finish 7th in the American_League. Part of the problem was the rate in which they grounded into double plays: they had the dubious honor of finishing second in that category with 166 that year. Perhaps a bigger factor was how they did with Runners in scoring position, where their OPS fell to a tie for 5th in the American League, and in particular how they handled themselves with RISP and 2 out, where they only managed the league's 8th best OPS.

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