Blue Jays: Dissecting the troubling start to the season

Apr 14, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Ezequiel Carrera (left) and right fielder Jose Bautista (right) watch from the dugout in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. The Orioles won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Ezequiel Carrera (left) and right fielder Jose Bautista (right) watch from the dugout in the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. The Orioles won 6-4. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays are off to their worst start in franchise history sporting a 2-10 record after their first 12 contests and now the injury bug has reared it’s ugly head.

Two weeks ago players, fans, and prognosticators of the sport all believed the Blue Jays were a postseason caliber team who at the very least would compete for a Wild Card berth in the American League. Then the season started……

Up until yesterday, I was not overly concerned as the 162 game season is filled with peaks and valleys and the losing streak was magnified because it started from the onset as the Blue Jays stumbled out of the gate.

However underperforming aside the injuries to Josh Donaldson, Aaron Sanchez and most recently J.A. Happ is concerning, to say the least. The Donaldson calf tribulations that seem to crop up every time the slugger hustles or over-extends himself down the line is very much a concern and one of those injuries that you could see nagging him all season long.

Sanchez has been dealing with blister issues that are also a recurring problem for him and contributed to his poor outing on Friday. Although they don’t sound serious, blisters can be a pitchers Achilles heel and derail a season just ask Rich Hill.

The Happ elbow injury came out of nowhere yesterday, after a pitch in the 5th inning, he skipped off the mound awkwardly and that was it. Happ is scheduled for an MRI to determine what the extent of the injury may be. Fingers crossed ball fans.

The Blue Jays offence has been stagnant, to say the least as 4 everyday starters are hitting below the Mendoza line. The lackluster lumber from Jose Bautista, Steve Pearce, Devon Travis and Russell Martin have squandered numerous opportunities with runners in scoring position.

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The Jays have been competitive in the majority of their games for the most part. Out of their 12 losses- 8 games have been decided by 2 runs or less including 5 one-run contests. As a team, the Jays are hitting .212 good for third worst in the majors.

The Jays who rely heavily on the long ball have even struggled to hit the ball deep. They rank second to last with only 7 round trippers in their first 12 games only the Boston Red Sox have fewer with 6 homers. On the flipside, the Milwaukee Brewers and New York Mets lead the majors with 22 round trippers each. Their offence ranks last in runs per game averaging a paltry 2.83 runs per contest.

The Jays machine is not one that is built for small ball which does not bode well when the power outage strikes. With the exception of Darwin Barney and Ezequiel Carrera, the skipper has virtually nobody who possesses the skills to drop down a sacrifice bunt when the situation calls for one. The Jays also rank last with 1 stolen base thus far so the speed aspect is stuck in neutral.

Even their pitching which was forecasted to be a strong point has combined for a 4.49 earned run average ranking them 23rd in the league. The pitching line is skewed to some extent as Francisco Liriano has a 9.00 ERA after his first start implosion where he didn’t make it out of the 1st inning.

The bullpen is somewhat in flux with the injury to J.P. Howell and the disappointing start to Ryan Tepera‘s season. The hard-throwing reliever has an 8.44 ERA in 5 appearances and is teetering on a demotion to Buffalo. On a positive note, Joe Biagini and Joe Smith have been sharp thus far for the Jays.

Next: Blue Jays skipper not to blame for team’s dreadful start

Don’t give up hope on the season just yet, the boys in blue have a proven track record and will hopefully figure it out in short order. There is a reason why they play all 162 games and not just 12 games. Anything can happen.

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