Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Strikeouts are an early problem, again

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 14: Justin Smoak
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 14: Justin Smoak /
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Although we’re just two games into the new season, the Blue Jays are striking out at an alarming rate, a recurring problem for this offensive group.

I’m not going to hit the panic button just yet for this  year’s version of the Toronto Blue Jays, but there is one returning theme that definitely concerns me. These guys just strike out way too much.

In fact, through the first two games of the season the offence has already struck out a total of 24 times against the Yankees pitching staff. They have faced some difficult pitching to be sure, but even at that you’d like to see them making more contact than they have through the first two contests.

Luis Severino was dealing on Opening Day and finished his 5.2 innings with seven strikeouts, and Masahiro Tanaka whiffed eight batters through six innings. The Yankees bullpen has been characteristically strong as usual as well, with Aroldis Chapman leading the way with five strikeouts in his two innings of work.

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For the Blue Jays, the problem has been almost universal thus far. It’s particularly interesting to see how many of these strikeouts are coming from the top four hitters in the lineup thus far as well.

Devon Travis has lead off and has struck out four times in eight at bats, Josh Donaldson was sat down three times yesterday, Justin Smoak has four strikeouts in seven at bats, and even Curtis Granderson has been K’d three times in his five at bats. Even Kevin Pillar, who is the only hitter who has done much of anything so far (.333 batting average), has struck out three times in his six at bats.

Again, we’re talking about just two games here, and they did come against the Yankees top two starters, but it’s a troubling trend for a team that has struggled to make contact over the last few seasons. It’s also been a discussion point about roster building over the last couple of seasons, and for all the great changes and upgrades that Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro made to this team over the offseason, that particular issue hasn’t been addressed as much as most would like to see.

The Blue Jays will hope that their offence can start to make contact on a more regular basis, and they’ll get their next crack at it against Yankee veteran, C.C. Sabathia today. Sabathia was a high strikeout pitcher earlier in his career (high of 251 in 2008), but has become a lot more of a pitch to contact starter as he’s moved toward the twilight of his career.

Again, it’s only two games of a young season, but it’s a trend that the Blue Jays and their fans would like to see move in the opposite direction.

Next: Jays baseball feels weird without Jose Bautista

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