Blue Jays: It’s not the losing, it’s the way they’re losing

DETROIT, MI - JULY 15: Jose Bautista
DETROIT, MI - JULY 15: Jose Bautista /

The Blue Jays were blown out again against the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, losing by a score of 11-1. When they’re not winning, the Jays have been taking regular, embarrassing beatings lately, a trend that’s gotta be concerning.

The Blue Jays started the second half of the season on the type of note the fan base had hoped for, winning their series opener with the Tigers by a score of 7-2. They had a couple home runs, received a solid start from Aaron Sanchez, and looked like a sound ball club.

Then came Saturday, and the Blue Jays were thumped by a score of 11-1. Michael Fulmer shut down the Jays’ hitters in his eight innings pitched, allowing just one run on two hits and a walk. Francisco Liriano wasn’t just unable to keep up with the 2016 Rookie of the Year, but he had to exit the game after just two frames, reportedly dealing with neck stiffness. He had been roughed up for five earned runs on three hits and four walks, having another tough outing in difficult season.

It wasn’t just Liriano who struggled though, as the rest of the staff surrendered six more runs after his departure. Mike Bolsinger ate some valuable innings, throwing 3.2, but also giving up three earned runs in the process. Lucas Harrell managed 1.1 scoreless, before Aaron Loup entered and served up another three run homer, making it 11-1.

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For as bad as the pitching performance was, the offence wasn’t any better. They managed just two hits on the afternoon, with Fulmer consistently inducing weak contact from the Jays’ hitters. He was completely in control of the outing, and the Blue Jays once again looked like they were praying for a merciful end to the game.

The situation has played out far too frequently of late, with this being the 4th time in two weeks that they’ve lost by more than 10 runs. They took a 15-1 drubbing from the Red Sox on July 2nd, and then 12-2, and 19-1 losses against the Astros before the All-Star break. Although they are 5-5 in their last 10 contests, with several coming against strong teams like the Astros and Yankees, if it feels like it’s worse than the win-loss column would indicate, that’s because it has been.

At such a crucial point in the season, and for this specific group, it doesn’t seem like they have the urgency and desperation that they should. Maybe I’m wrong, and that urgency is causing hitters to press at the plate, but it’s awfully concerning to me that the team is getting beaten so badly, so regularly. Even the greatest teams in baseball take their share of losses, but when you take a licking like the Blue Jays did on Friday, it’s gotta be demoralizing. Multiplying that feeling by four, and you’ll have to excuse Blue Jays’ fans for being frustrated.

Again, losses happen, but it’s the way the Blue Jays have been beaten that worries me even more than their place in the standings. If they don’t want this group broken up, as was reported by Sportsnet from Jose Bautista, then the team will have to show a little more fight than they have recently, otherwise the front office may have no choice.

Next: Blue Jays, Osuna, and the young closer jinx