Sep 5, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Brandon Morrow (23) delivers a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIREIt’s been a long, long season for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Everything that could have gone wrong, has gone wrong. What looked to be a return to grace for Dustin McGowan resulted in yet another shoulder injury in a long line of injuries to that region. A less severe shoulder inflammation shut down Jesse Litsch during Spring Training, however a Platelet-Rich Plasmas (PRP) injection used to help the recovery process created a serious infection that has prevented Litsch from pitching all year. The answer we had been looking for in a closer role in Sergio Santos also suffered a shoulder injury about a month into the season, who is expected to start a throwing program in December. Brandon Morrow, Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison all went down to severe injuries in a span of 4 games (Drabek and Hutchison requiring Tommy John surgery), with only Morrow returning to shaky results. Further injuries of regulars Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, Brett Lawrie and to minor league replacements and trade acquirements of David Cooper and J.A. Happ has left the Jays scraping the bottom of the roster barrel to fill in for the big club.
The only starting pitcher for the Jays without an injury scare, staff ace Ricky Romero, has seemingly lost his ability to locate the strike zone, reversing the quality of pitching that got him to the All-Star Game just a year ago. Furthermore, Yunel Escobar brought the Jays a great deal of controversy over the derogatory words written on his eye black. Finally, the one shimmer of hope that came through all of this in the pitching performance of Carlos Villanueva has soured in the month of September, producing an awful 8.10 ERA, 1.54 WHIP, 3.39 HR/9, .306 BAA and a .431 wOBA against, raising legitimate concerns as to if Villanueva can sustain a good pitching performance over a full season.
The Toronto Blue Jays have not made the playoffs since they won it all in 1993, and will not make it again this year. What they have done is made it harder for their inter-division teams to make it to the postseason. In the month of September, from 2001-2011, the Blue Jays have a record of 153-118, .565 winning percentage. However, this year they have not fared so well, going 8-16 against all opponents and 3-12 against AL East teams that still remain in the hunt for the playoffs.
If they look to change their fortunes against the Yankees, the Jays will have to rely on a good pitching performance by Morrow, who has gone 1-3 in decisions since returning from an oblique injury. Their best chance is against Ivan Nova tonight, who is coming off a 2.1 inning game where he gave up three runs on five hits and two walks against the Oakland Athletics.
This upcoming series marks the Blue Jays’ Fan Appreciation Weekend, where they plan to reward their fans for an average increase of roughly 4,000 fans per game with special handouts and giveaways. With the Orioles just 1.5 games back of first place in the AL East, the best way the Jays can show their appreciation to a disheartened fan like you and I is to help the Orioles win the division by playing their butts off against the Yankees throughout this crucial four game series.
There’s only 7 games left on the season, Blue Jays. Make them count.