The Toronto Blue Jays have been a pretty exciting team all season, from the highs of a batting order that was tearing up the league to the lows of watching the bullpen struggle to close games, going through numerous rough patches throughout the year.
By landing offensive weapons such as George Springer and Marcus Semien this past off-season, Jays’ fans were hoping for a playoff-worthy season from Canada’s only major league team.
While Springer has missed a good chunk of the campaign with various ailments, the Blue Jays currently sit within reach of the playoffs although they will have to go on an impressive run (and will need some luck from the baseball gods regarding their opponents) if they want to make it interesting the closer we get to October. Right now, the Blue Jays are 12.0 games back in the AL East and 5.5 games back in the AL Wild Card.
One of the more impressive highlights this season has been the Blue Jays batting order, as there are numerous players on the roster who are lighting up the stats leaderboards and hitting well this year.
Leading the charge is Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who made headlines this past off-season as he showed up leaner and in better shape to Spring Training and is seeing the benefits of those results so far. He is currently four home runs (36) behind first-place Shohei Ohtani in all of the major leagues and ranks third in OPS (1.000) behind Ohtani and Fernando Tatis Jr. Guerrero Jr. also ranks third in RBI (90) behind only Rafael Devers and Jose Abreu and sixth in batting average (.308).
Even after an up and down month of August, the Blue Jays batting order is still ranking high amongst many of the offensive categories across the league as a team.
Alongside Guerrero Jr. is Marcus Semien, who is leading all second baseman in the majors with 30 home runs and is second in terms of OPS (.857) behind only Trea Turner. Teoscar Hernandez is also putting together a solid campaign, slashing .305/.347/.521 with a .868 OPS and 22 home runs even though he missed two to three weeks earlier this year on the COVID-19 IL.
Throw in Bo Bichette (.285/.335/.455 with 20 home runs and 77 RBI) as well as a healthy Springer (.269/.362/.610 with 16 home runs) and a clutch Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.272/.306/.437 with 54 RBI) and the Blue Jays have one of the most potent lineups in the league, and I didn’t even get a chance to mention Reese McGuire, Alejandro Kirk, or Randal Grichuk.
While the bats have been solid for most of the season, the month of August has been a bit of a whirlwind when it comes to putting runs on the scoreboard. The dog days of Summer are in full motion and lately, the Blue Jays are struggling to provide support to their pitching corps.
Over their last 23 games (the entire month of August), the batting order has failed to put up four or more runs in 13 of those games, four of those ending in wins for the club. Of the other 10 games, the Blue Jays lineup was able to produce four to ten runs in nine of those games, seven of which the team won (they lost two games to the Nationals at 6-12 and 5-8 respectively). They also clubbed 12 runs against the Boston Red Sox earlier this month in an important series at the Rogers Centre.
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For the month of August, the Blue Jays sport a 12-11 record, with most of their wins coming at home (nine) and a rough 3-6 stretch on the road back in the midway point of the month accounting for a big chunk of their losses.
They also lost some important games/series as well, taking only one game away from the Seattle Mariners, who are in the AL Wild Card hunt as well, and losing two games to the very beatable Washington Nationals and two games to the Detroit Tigers this past weekend.
For the Blue Jays, even though the team is struggling to get runs on the board compared to earlier in the year, they still rank high on many of the offensive categories across the league.
1st: SLG (.454)
2nd: OPS (.780), Home Runs (187), AVG (.263),
3rd: Hits (1098), Total Bases (1893)
Putting up more than four runs seems to be the team’s sweet spot and anything less puts a lot of pressure on the pitching corps, something that the club may want to avoid (4.11 ERA amongst the club’s relief corps although a 3.73 ERA amongst the starters).
It is tough for any club to pull out a win when the batting order only puts up less than three runs, so hitting with runners in scoring position and putting the ball in play will really go a long way for a club that is known for being a threat at almost every spot in the lineup.