It’s been a truly awful stretch of baseball for the Blue Jays lately, but the good news is their schedule is giving them a chance to right the ship before the All-Star break.
Not that it’s an excuse for what we’ve witnessed lately, but the Blue Jays have had one of the toughest schedules in the league thus far. Now that they’ve wrapped a three-game set where they were swept by the Yankees, they’ll move on to Baltimore to finally play the Orioles for the first time this season.
With the way the Jays are playing lately, there are no guarantees that they’ll beat up on the weaker competition. That said, they’ll play the Orioles for seven of their next nine games, with a quick two-game trip to Miami to play the Marlins splitting up the run of games against Baltimore. The Orioles are firmly in the basement of the AL East and have one of the worst records in baseball at 22-46, and the Marlins are last in the NL East at 29-39.
To close out the month they’ll square up against the 34-36 Seattle Mariners, and their series will bleed into the start of July. Taking them up to the All-Star break from there the Jays will host the Rays for three games, play the Orioles three more times, and then close out the first half with a trip to Tropicana Field.
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Outside of those six games with the Rays, the Blue Jays have an opportunity to put themselves back in the playoff hunt and hopefully make up some of the ground they’ve lost over the last couple week. The offence shouldn’t be a huge problem, as they’ve been routinely scoring runs against the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees, who all have better pitching staffs than the teams they’ll face over the next few weeks. However, it takes more than just an exciting offence to win, as we’ve learned all too well lately.
First and foremost the Blue Jays need to find a mitt full of bandaids for their bullpen, or better yet, maybe even major surgery. What was an early-season strength of the roster has turned into a total disaster lately. They do have a few injured arms that could join the big league roster in the near future, but the need for help is pretty immediate, especially after also losing Rafael Dolis and Carl Edwards Jr. to the IL during the series with the Yankees.
Lately we’ve seen a lot of fundamental baseball mistakes that have cost them dearly. Perhaps the most poetic thing that happened on Thursday night was the Blue Jays running into a Triple Play, and one so unique that it had never happened before in MLB history.
More than anything the offence may just have to turn things up to a point where they beat on the opposing pitchers and simply outscore the competition. They haven’t been able to do that against the likes of their premium East division competition, but they may get away with it against the Orioles, Marlins, and maybe even the Mariners, and they have been reasonably productive lately. You can’t rely on that though, and to waste this important opportunity would be a mistake.
The Blue Jays have a ton of work to actually get back to the point of contending, but it all starts with their next 10 games in particular. If they can’t beat up on the weaker competition, then chances are this season is going to be almost impossible to save.