The Blue Jays have put on full display their ability to claw their way back into any game, regardless of their opponent or the scoreboard.
I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone, but the Toronto Blue Jays are sitting in second place in the AL East. Very few people, including myself, would have thought this team would be in the position they are in given the way they played earlier this season. What this team failed to show in the first 15 games of the campaign, that has since become the cornerstone of their success, is their unwavering resilience.
Jesse Barfield the long-time Blue Jays outfielder has been pushing this message all season, describing the Jays as a team with “grit and determination”. He’s not wrong. The Jays have had 27 of their 43 games this year decided by two runs or less; for a team that plays as many close games as they do, a never give up type of attitude is a pre-requisite to success. They simply have a knack for coming back in games where they are down and have proven it all year long.
Out of the Jays 24 wins this year, 13 of them have been come from behind victories. The fact that over half of their wins are games they were trailing shows just how gritty this team truly is. When the Phillies beat around Trent Thornton in the second game of a doubleheader back on August 20, the Jays responded with a 7-run sixth inning to come back and sweep the two-game set. That game was a turning point for their season, if they could erase a 7-run deficit in a seven inning game, what game could they not come back in?
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Since that game, seven of the 12 Jays victories have been come from behind wins, showing yet again that no lead is safe when you’re playing this team. The Yankees saw this first hand on Monday as they sat back and watched their 6-2 lead disappear at the hands of the Jays lineup, which responded with a 10-run 6th inning that had Yankees relievers implying the Jays hitters may even be stealing signs.
Obviously a baseless acquisition and the result of a frustrating stretch for New York, but nonetheless the Jays showed a Yankees team, who at the beginning of the season were heavy favourites to win the division, that they are in every definition of the word: resilient. That game was more than a win, it was a statement. That 10-run inning put the league on notice that this Blue Jays team is very much for real and that they are in a playoff spot for a reason.
The fact that this stretch of come from behind victories has occurred without arguably their best player in Bo Bichette shows that this roster is a lot deeper than they are given credit for. The Jays have been nailed by injuries: Bo, Rowdy Tellez, Teoscar Hernandez, Ken Giles, Jordan Romano, and Nate Pearson are all on the Injured list and yet somehow, someway, this team just keeps winning baseball games.
They are young, they’re hungry, and they are hell-bent on proving their doubters wrong. They have shown day in and day out that they will find ways to win games, the scoreboard be damned. The Jays have shown their character in the face of adversity: injuries, not being able to play in Toronto, countless deficits, all of these have only made this team’s morale stronger. They have a chip on their shoulder and they’re showing the league that this is only the tip of the iceberg. This team has a genuine identity now, and one that they should be proud of. The comeback kids have arrived and they’re here to stay.