After dropping two of three to the Orioles, the Blue Jays lost the series opener to the Boston Red Sox on Friday. Although June has just ended, it’s already do or die in Toronto.
Just four or five days ago, the majority of the fan base was focusing on the upcoming nine games with division rivals, and hoping to make up some badly needed ground in the AL East. Things didn’t go well against the Orioles, as the Jays came away with just one win, and another game further behind in the standings.
Game one against the Red Sox is also in the books, and once again the Blue Jays were unable to start the series with a win, dropping the affair by a score of 7-4 in the 11th inning. Marco Estrada struggled again, giving up a career high seven walks in the outing, despite only allowing two hits.
The details of last night’s game don’t matter as much as what the loss means for the club. Coming off a disappointing series with the Orioles, the club badly needed this win, especially because they’re hitting a crossroads now that we’re entering July.
With the turn of the calendar comes the All-Star break, and of course, the trade deadline. With a record of 37-42 and currently sitting 7.5 back of the Red Sox for the division lead, the front office is going to have some difficult decisions to make. With each mounting loss, the case for trading future assets for immediate help becomes more far-fetched, and the idea of taking a different direction becomes more realistic.
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The roster has undergone some changes since Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins were hired in the front office, but this is still largely a team that was put together by Alex Anthopoulos, the former Jays’ GM.
I could be wrong on this, but I’ve always felt that Shapiro and Atkins rolled with the bulk of the current roster, not necessarily because they wanted to, but because it was still a win-now team and you don’t close a window willingly.
There were several reports of Shapiro being displeased with the big trades of 2015, which were responsible for sending many of the organization’s top minor league pitchers to the Detroit Tigers and Colorado Rockies. His history would indicate that he’s a builder, not a buyer, and we could see that philosophy start to take shape in Toronto sooner than later.
They may still be two games shy of the halfway point in the season, but the decision to become buyers or sellers will happen in just a few weeks time, if it hasn’t already.
Yes it’s early, and it’s still feasible for the Blue Jays to get hot and get right back in the thick of things. However, this recent string of losses has been devastating to their chances, so much so that it’s literally becoming do or die time for this season.