Toronto Blue Jays could still benefit from their delayed series
By Reuben Gasee
Despite the way their return began, there could be benefits to the Toronto Blue Jays not having played for a few days.
The Blue Jays started off their truncated season facing the Rays on the road. They then headed to the United States capital to take on the Nationals where they also hosted two home games in Washington as the Canadian government didn’t allow the team to have their home games in Canada, and Sahlen Field in Buffalo wasn’t up to major league standards. Those games resulted in a 3-4 finish.
They were then set to take on the Phillies in Philadelphia for a three game series as the home team, but those games got delayed. The reason for the delay was for safety precautions, as the Marlins were the last team to occupy the visitor’s clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park in which more than half the team tested positive for COVID-19.
While a delay of three games ought to ruin the players’ momentum, rhythm and routine, the delay actually helps from an overall season perspective.
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With those three games having to be made up, it was announced that it will be done so in September via doubleheader. The next time the Jays and Phillies are set to face each other is September 18th-20th in Philadelphia, which is when the doubleheaders will presumably take place.
As those games are being pushed back to over a month from now, it will allow the Jays to determine how serious contenders they are for a playoff spot. As doubleheader games are now 7 innings, if the Jays are in the hunt for a spot, they might have their starters, especially Hyun-Jin Ryu and Nate Pearson, go deeper into games. This would be beneficial as the bullpen has struggled to begin the season and the starting pitchers won’t have to worry about tiring out in the 8th or 9th inning.
With those games not happening till September, it allows the front office to determine how they fare in the AL East standings as well as the wild card race. This would be crucial in determining if this is a year to make a push for the postseason or if selling assets is the right move. If the Jays are in the hunt, then expect Ken Giles to stay put (with his health being a big caveat), but if they find themselves too far back, the front office will explore trades for Giles, Travis Shaw, Joe Panik and possibly others.
It also gives the team more time to rest physically and mentally. To point out, Giles is currently on the IL with a forearm strain and if the series took place as supposed to, there’s no way he would have returned to close things out in a tight game if that situation occurred. With the games being pushed back, there’s a chance he comes back in time to pitch later this season, depending on how his recovery goes. The time off may have helped Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as well, as he picked up two hits on Tuesday night after struggling out of the gates.
With the virus ravaging around the league, expect to see more delays and postponements, which could very well include games the Jays are set to play in. For instance, the Jays are set to take on the Marlins August 11th and 12th and will kick off September playing them on the road. With the way things are going, a lot could change by then, and we really can’t make any assumptions.