The idea is, in order to be a division winning baseball team, you have to beat teams within your division. The Toronto Blue Jays are NOT a division winning baseball team. They are not a winning team. These past 10 games against AL East division foes were suppose to be statement games… and they certainly made a statement.
The statement is that this team cannot hack it against the AL East. Blame injuries. Blame poor coaching. Blame players like Rajai Davis getting picked off unnecessarily at 2nd base in the 9th two days ago against the New York Yankees! Every person I’ve talked to via Twitter has a different opinion on why this season went the way it went. With the exception of maybe Edwin Encarnacion, there has not been one player that hasn’t been criticized on this team at some point. How’s this for criticism? The Blue Jays simply cannot win in the AL East. Against the rest of baseball, they are 36-34. Against the AL East, a pathetic 21-37. Yes sir, they are almost as many games under .500 against the division as they are games behind in the division (17.5 GB).
The Blue Jays record against their division is clearly the worst. The Baltimore Orioles have only four more wins than Toronto against the East, but have played eight LESS games (25-25)! The only team that’s had futility similar to the Blue Jays happen to be the New York Yankees. Against the Boston Red Sox, Tampa Bay Rays, and Orioles, the Yankees are a combined 16-21. The Blue Jays against the same opponents? 20-25 giving Toronto a slightly better winning percentage (.432 NYY/.444 TOR). But put the Yankees and Blue Jays head-to-head and get ready to vomit. Toronto is just 1-12 against the stinkin Yankees! Joshua Menezes wrote back in May that not playing the Yankees for a while is good. How about just not playing the Yankees at all? There are six games left against the Bronx Bombers and there are NO signs that the Blue Jays will play any better against them anytime soon. The Jays have already been outscored 69-41 in the previous 13 games.
Toronto has been the AL Least of the AL Beasts. How dominant has the AL East been against the rest of baseball this year? Against the AL Central, East teams are 74-64 with Toronto carrying the rear of that at 11-14. Against the AL West? A ridiculous 80-56 (Toronto 16-12)! Interleague play? 50-39 (Toronto 9-8). So 16 games under .500 in your own division is pretty damn significant.
Maybe Rogers Communications can talk with Major League Baseball about a divisional relocation, kind of like what they did with the Houston Astros last season (obviously, baseball didn’t realign the divisions out of pity for Houston, but it should have! Nah, the Astros don’t deserve pity. Their fans do.) The Pittsburgh Pirates are good again! Why not put them in a division that’s more difficult to play against? Pittsburgh is practically interchangeable with Toronto in terms of geographical location! Hell with it! Nevermind Rogers, I’m writing a letter to Bud Selig and begging him to make the switch! Who wants to start a petition? Ok, reality is that isn’t going to work (and probably has already been done). The unfortunate reality is Toronto is in the hardest division in baseball and is getting destroyed within it. It was bad enough when the team was relatively healthy in April and May. Now with club being unhealthy and missing it’s entire Opening Day starting outfield, it’s about to get a whole lot worse in August and September.