It’s bad enough that the Blue Jays have dropped five straight games this week, but the circumstances of the division schedule make it all that much worse.
Starting with the obvious, it’s not at all helpful that this losing streak has come against their division rivals. They won the first game of a 10-game, division-only stretch against the Red Sox, and then dropped their next two before opening up against the Rays. Despite being in a position to win the last two games, the bullpen has started to come unravelled lately after being so heavily relied on early in the schedule.
When the week began there were four teams pretty tightly packed together at the top of the division standings, but now the Blue Jays are pretty clearly in 4th place. The Rays and Red Sox sit in a tie at the top of the division, with the Yankees just a half game back, and the Blue jays now 4.5 behind the leaders.
The Blue Jays have obviously lost ground against their direct competition this week, but the rest of the division has been playing well at the same time, which hasn’t helped things at all. Prior to Sunday’s schedule the Rex Sox had won four in a row and seven of their last nine.
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It doesn’t get much better with the other contenders either, as the Red Sox are the third hottest team of the trio. After picking up a win against the White Sox on Sunday the Yankees have now swept two straight three-games series, knocking off Chicago right after sweeping a three-game series against the Rangers in Texas. They’re also 8-2 over their last 10, and 10-3 over their previous 13 games.
As for the hottest team in the division, that would be the Tampa Bay Rays. Sunday’s second straight comeback win against the Blue Jays now gives the Rays ten straight wins, pushing their record to 29-19 after they were sitting at .500 just a week and a half ago. Prior to beating the Blue Jays for three straight games they had swept the Baltimore Orioles and New York Mets, and also picked up a win against the Yankees on May 13 to start the streak.
In the immediate future things won’t get any easier for the Blue Jays either, but at least they have some control over their own destiny in the division standings. They’ll play the Rays one more time today to wrap up their four-game series, and then move on to New York to take on the red-hot Yankees, who have an off day on Monday.
It’s obviously way too early to panic too much about the way things have gone lately, but it never helps when a cold stretch coincides with a hot streak as the direct competition. Hopefully a new week brings new results all around.