Toronto Blue Jays: The ifs and buts are driving me nuts
The Blue Jays dropped two more games on Sunday, and unfortunately it was a continuation of the theme of losing close games this season.
If you look at Blue Jays’ record of 7-11, it would be easy to assume that they’ve been playing some pretty poor baseball in 2020. While their performance hasn’t been pretty at times, those that have watched the games would tell you that with a little bit of luck the Blue Jays could have flipped that win-loss total to 11-7, or maybe even better.
Looking back at the first 18 contests, they’ve been either in the lead or within striking distance in all but two of their games, the 12-4 drubbing they took from the Rays on Friday, and the 10-1 beatdown they received from Atlanta on Aug 4th. Otherwise, they’ve already lost six games by two runs or less, and even when they’ve lost by three or four runs, there have been plenty of opportunities to grab a victory, but the young squad hasn’t been able to make it happen.
There have been a wide range of reasons for these close losses, and I don’t know that we can blame any individual, even if some will face more heat than others. Charlie Montoyo’s bullpen usage has been a frequently discussed topic among fans and writers, and the bullpen themselves have blown a few opportunities to lock down a win, despite being very good on the whole so far.
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We could pin a few losses on Montoyo, maybe shift the blame to others like Shun Yamaguchi and Ken Giles, or even pile on to someone like Teoscar Hernandez, whose error on Sunday ultimately lead to the 2nd loss of the day. But as I look back at the results from these first 18 games, and actually have a closer look at the numbers, there’s one culprit that sticks out in a huge way. Almost no one is hitting with runners on base, and especially not in scoring position.
After Sunday’s losses the Blue Jays now rank 29th in all of baseball in hitting with runners on base, posting a team slash line of .213/.302/.385. They’re not much better with runners in scoring position either, as they’re still near the bottom of the league with a .215/.317/.380. Any way you look at it, that’s not going to get the job done very often, and it explains why it feels like this talented young team should be winning with more frequency.
The Blue Jays are about to begin a very important series in Baltimore with the Orioles that begins on Monday night, and the results could be significant. With the trade deadline already looming on August 31, the front office is going to have to make a few decisions before they’ve had a lot of time to evaluate the team. That said, if they can’t pick up at least two wins in Baltimore, it’ll be hard to see them pursuing a playoff spot this summer. The unfortunate reality is that they’re faced with a very tough schedule, back-loaded with 10 games against the mighty Yankees, and that won’t be an easy task.
It’s unfortunate that they haven’t been able to secure more of these winnable games, and with a tougher schedule on the horizon and being without Bo Bichette for at the short-term, the Blue Jays may really kick themselves later for the missed opportunities early in the schedule.