The Toronto Blue Jays are closer to the Red Sox than the Red Sox are to the Bay Rays in the American League East. The Blue Jays took two games from the Yankees and then went ahead and swept the Bay Rays in a series where the Jays sandwiched good pitching around an explosive offense. In some ways, the Jays remind this Fan of another team from last year that's doing pretty well this year: The San Diego Padres.
The similarities start with pitching. The Padres traded away an ace (Jake Peavy) and landed some good young pitching. The Blue Jays traded away their ace (Roy Halladay) and are benefiting from pitchers culled from other organizations blended with young arms from their own who are coming into their own much like the young Padres' pitchers did last year. Both teams have excellent bullpens with arms coveted by other teams.
The 2009 Padres and 2010 Blue Jays finished horrible months of June with the same record (9-17) only to be impressive after. Both play in tough divisions where they aren't expected to compete. Both have offenses with more unknown guys than known guys. And in some ways, the Blue Jays are more prepared to compete next year than the Padres were this year because of the offense.
The Padres and the Reds are really fun stories this year because their years are so unexpected. Their team years give hope to teams like the Blue Jays who have been really smart in building their arms for competition. The Blue Jays have more offensive talent than either the Reds or the Padres so there is even more reason to hope. The Blue Jays, if they pick the right manager for next year, could be scary good.