Blue Jays desperate for some middle infield offense


The Toronto Blue Jays are suddenly in need of some offense, and outside of Troy Tulowitzki‘s series-altering blast against the Texas Rangers, the middle-infield has barely even registered with the bats. If the Blue Jays hope to make a series out of this, the two cannot be contributing with their gloves alone.

Kansas City played their ideal ball game on Friday night at Kauffman stadium. While the Jays are happy to trade blows round-by-round, the Royals excel at winning rounds one and two, then smothering you. Toronto’s batted-ball luck was non-existent, but after Kansas City took their lead, pitching and defense slowly took the life out of each and every comeback attempt.

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The slump from Ryan Goins, while still disappointing, is more understandable than his counterpart at shortstop. Six games in, he’s recorded just one single in 20 at bats, walking once and striking out six times. Playoff pitching can quickly snuff out a player like Goins or Justin Smoak, whose regular season success really toed the line, but the Jays second baseman has looked entirely different at the plate.

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The altered approach and bat placement that helped spark Goins to his finest season as a pro seems to have taken a step back, and he’s been caught very surprised by certain pitch combinations. Toronto doesn’t need a .350 average from him, but these empty at bats are an albatross around their neck.

In Tulowitzki, we’re obviously left to speculate that his shoulder injury is effecting him more than he is letting on. Outside of his home run, Tulo is 1-for-24 (bringing the middle infield average to .067) and has struck out nine times. Against Edinson Volquez, he looked strangely overmatched, staring at one of the biggest strikes of the game as it sailed by and into the strike zone.

Each player has continued to impact on defense, as they showed with a double play of the highest order in game one. That isn’t enough at this point in the playoffs, though, even for Goins. The Royals thrive of playing tight, consistent baseball, and the drop off in Toronto’s middle infield has left them unable to keep up.

Toronto did not manage a single extra-base hit on Friday, so they’ll look to hit reset on this series later this afternoon with Yordano Ventura on the mound to face David Price. Some early production is the recipe for success against these Royals, but Tulowitzki and Goins need to give the Blue Jays a nine-man lineup first.

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