Blue Jays: These may be the biggest games of the year

DETROIT, MI - JULY 16: Right fielder Jose Bautista
DETROIT, MI - JULY 16: Right fielder Jose Bautista /

With a series opening win on Monday night, the Blue Jays have a chance to make up some serious ground on the division leader in the next three days.

The Blue Jays have reached yet another crossroads in their tumultuous season on Monday night, beginning a series with the AL East leading Boston Red Sox. They started the series off on the right foot, receiving another strong outing from Marcus Stroman, and putting the game away late by a score of 4-3.

It was a huge win for the Jays, both in the standings, and in terms of their confidence and chances. They are 6-4 in their last 10, and as we enter the last two weeks of July, this really is do or die time now for this group. We’ve said that before they started their last group of games before the All-Star break, but it’s even more relevant now.

The timing of the series is certainly helpful for the Blue Jays, as they’re meeting the Red Sox as they are scuffling a bit. They’re just 3-7 in their last 10, and with three more games to play after the Monday night win for the Jays, things could look very different by Thursday night. If the Blue Jays want the 2017 season to stay relevant, these next three days have to matter.

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The Blue Jays currently sit 8.0 games back of the Red Sox for the division lead, and are actually tied in the basement with the Baltimore Orioles at 43-49. The Orioles have completely fallen apart, and are going through a more difficult time with their rotation than any team in baseball. For as frustrating and inconsistent as the Jays’ starters has been, they’ve been significantly better than what Buck Showalter has been running out to the mound. The Orioles are in an obvious position to tear down and start their own rebuild, but they haven’t put those wheels in motion just yet.

The Yankees are also scuffling, as they’ve also lost seven of their last 10, and even Aaron Judge has looked human at the plate since the second half began, going just 1-21 and dropping his batting average to “only” .311. The Bronx Bombers are looking pretty vulnerable, and the Blue Jays are only 4.5 games back of them as of Tuesday morning.

The Rays have been a surprise contender this year, not that anyone should be shocked that they’ve managed to stay competitive once again. Both the Rays and Yankees currently occupy the two Wild Card spots, with the Rays actually leading the Yankees by a game and a half for the first position. They’ve got their vulnerabilities as well, but lately they’ve been playing some inspired baseball and have won seven of their last ten.

So as the majority of the division struggles, the Blue Jays have what could be their last opportunity to claw back into contention. A series sweep of the Red Sox would put them just 5.0 games back of the division lead, and there would be 10 days left before the trade deadline at the conclusion of the series.

Next: Apparently Stroman trade talks were an actual thing

If they can’t come away with at least two out of the next three games, that could be the final push the front office needs to start selling some pieces. The next three games could determine a lot about the direction of the franchise