After an exciting 48 hours leading up to the trade deadline, the Blue Jays should be a serious threat to return to the postseason. The new roster pieces help, as does their return to the Rogers Centre, and the schedule in August should give them an opportunity to jump up in the standings.
The Jays had one of the toughest schedules in baseball prior to the All-Star break, which is something I’ve talked about in the past. They haven’t exactly started things out with ease having to play the Red Sox and Mets after sweeping the Rangers, but the competition won’t be quite as tough in August, other than when they have to play Boston again.
Outside of those games with the first-place Red Sox, their schedule has plenty of teams that are sitting with records below .500 as of this writing. They’ll begin the month of August by finishing up a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals, who are 45-57. From there the Jays will play a four-game series against Cleveland, who have fallen back a bit recently after looking like possible playoff contenders earlier in the year. They’re now just 50-50, and hopefully the Blue Jays can catch some momentum on their first home stand in Toronto in nearly two years, which includes the Royals series, the 4-gamer with Cleveland, and four games against the Red Sox as well.
It should help the Blue Jays that they’ll get to play in front of enthusiastic fans, and hopefully they can build some momentum before their first road trip of the month. They’ll keep up the theme of a a four-game series when they head to L.A. to play the Angels, who are a game below .500 at 51-52 record. After that they’ll play in Seattle for three games against the baffling Mariners, who traded their closer on Tuesday, and then acquired a starting pitcher from Pittsburgh in Tyler Anderson. Reports indicated that clubhouse wasn’t happy with the trade of Kendall Graveman at all, and it’s hard to say where they’ll be by the middle of next month, even if they’ve somehow managed to get to 56-48 to this point.
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Sandwiched in between a couple of off days is a two-game series with the Washington Nationals, who went into full seller mode ahead of the July 30 deadline. They traded Max Scherzer, Trey Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Daniel Hudson, and more, and will begin a rebuild with Juan Soto as the obvious centre piece.
The Blue Jays will also benefit (in theory) from a home and away series with the Detroit Tigers, who have struggled to a 50-56 record this season. They’re one of the weaker teams in the AL that the Jays have yet to play in 2021, and hopefully they can continue their trend of beating up on teams under .500. In between those six games is a four-game contest with the Chicago White Sox, which will be one of the bigger tests of the month. The Sox have been ravaged by injuries this season, but they’re still at the top of the AL Central with a comfortable lead, Eloy Jimenez just made his return from a serious pectoral muscle injury that many thought would keep him out for the year, and they just brought in Craig Kimbrel to stack their bullpen further. On the plus side, those four games will be played in Toronto.
To close out the month the Jays will head to Baltimore for a three-game series that bleeds into September. Things will get a lot more difficult for the Blue Jays by then, which is why August needs to be a time that they make their move if they’re going to climb up in the standings. Thankfully Ross Atkins and company brought in some reinforcements ahead of the trade deadline, and combining that with the boost of returning to Toronto for the first time in nearly two years, I have a feeling it’s going to be an exciting month ahead.