The Blue Jays woke up on the first day of October in a lot of trouble.They’d lost four of their previous five games they scored a total of 10 runs in those four lo ses and they were just barely holding onto the second AL Wild Card spot. The Tigers were a half-game back and the Mariners were a Frank Robinson Jersey full game back.They woke up on Monday morning one step from the World Series.It’s a big step, sure, but the 2016 Blue Jays, who barely snuck into the playoffs via the wild card, are better prepared, better equipped and more capable of getting to the World Series than the 2015 Blue Jays, a team that won the AL East by six full games and had the second-best record in the AL.PLAYOFFS 2016: 12 players who own unfortunate postseason recordsYep.These are the Blue Jays we expected to see all season. These are the Blue Jays we thought had arrived near the end of August, when they owned a two-game lead in the AL East.Blue Jays are gonna win the East by double digits, aren’t they? (((Je se Spector))) (@je sespector) August 30, 2016These are the Blue Jays who are better than last year’s Blue Jays.Like last year’s team, the 2016 Blue Jays squad can still mash the baseball. They had eight guys pop at least 11 homers this season and six of those hit at least 20.In their four postseason games the wild-card win against the Orioles and the sweep of the Rangers in the ALDS they’ve hit 10 home runs. They made Texas aces Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish look like home-run derby pitchers (five of those 10 homers came against those two). The other four AL teams who qualified for the playoffs have hit a total of 10, in 10 games.But the biggest difference for the Blue Jays this year?We play good defense, Ru sell Martin said after Toronto finished the sweep of the Rangers. Our pitching has been tremendous throughout the year, and in the small sample size I kind of felt like we touched on everything that we were able to accomplish all year. But for me it’s pitching and defense and obviously the offense is nece sary. But we’ve been doing that all year.Kudos to Martin for the small-sample-size mention. Andhe right about the other stuff, too.In Toronto’s first three playoff games, the starting pitchers (Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ) were brilliant. In the fourth one, Aaron Sanchez who led the AL in ERA this season faltered a bit, but the bullpen picked him up with 4 1/3 shutout innings. The bullpen, in fact https://www.oriolesedge.com/baltimore-orioles/pedro-alvarez-jersey , has been brilliant in all four games, rolling up a 1.29 ERA in 14 innings, striking out 13 while allowing just five hits and three walks.MLB PLAYOFFS 2016: The top 50 players in the postseasonAnd with the gloves? They’ve yet to commit an error in the postseason, though the subjective nature of deciding what’s an error and what’s a hit doesn’t prove much. Plus, as Martin said, that’s a really small sample size. Compare their 2015 fielding metrics with their 2016 fielding metrics and you’ll https://www.oriolesedge.com/baltimore-orioles/zach-britton-jersey see the improvement, though.Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR)2015 Blue Jays: 1.0 (16th in the majors)2016 Blue Jays: 24.3 (seventh)Defensive runs saved (DRS)2015 Blue Jays: 16 (tied for eighth in the majors)2016 Blue Jays: 28 (eighth)So, better pitching, better fielding and equally impre sive offense. Not a huge believer in the concept of momentum, but, sure, it can’t hurt that the Blue Jays have won all four of their playoff games two on walk-off runs and are playing with a ton of confidence right now.Before the ALDS/NLDS started, SN gave the Blue Jays the third-best chance of winning the World Series, behind the No. 1 Cubs and one spot ahead of the Rangers. Now, with Blue Jays finally showing their true championship colors, well, you have to be pretty excited if you’re a Toronto fan.