Blue Jays: Looking at the bright side of the 2021 season
The Toronto Blue Jays finished a pretty exciting season today, fighting for a playoff spot till the very end of the campaign. While the Blue Jays would do their part and sweep the Orioles, both the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox put up wins of their own, and the Jays were mathematically eliminated, finishing with 91 wins on the season and fourth in AL East.
To say it is disappointing to not make the playoffs is an understatement, especially with the team they were fielding this season.
Overall, it was an interesting year for the Jays and their fanbase, as there were quite a few highs and an equal amount of lows that filled out the schedule.
The Toronto Blue Jays were officially eliminated from the playoffs today and while it is disappointing, the fans and club should not hang their heads.
The Blue Jays battled through numerous injuries to their pitching staff to begin the season as well as an injury to their new star center fielder in Springer, who missed roughly half the season with a quad and knee injury. There were also a few issues down in the bullpen where some relievers were given a little too much freedom late in the games and a few losses were at their hands, which is now biting the Blue Jays late in the season.
Manager Charlie Montoyo also made a few questionable decisions that probably already have picket lines calling for his resignation but in the end, there are a few different series this year where the club should have won games and either the pitching staff or the batting order didn’t show up. A few games early in the season and later in the year that the club should have won and eventually those impacted the team at the very end.
Throw in three different home stadiums because of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past two seasons and you can see that the club was going to have to overcome some hurdles that many teams did not have to face.
While that is a bit of the negativity coming out of me as the Boston Red Sox officially eliminates the Blue Jays from the playoffs, there is also a lot to be proud and excited about with this roster.
The Jays boasted one of the best offensive lineups this season, leading the league in OPS (.796), slugging (.466), and home runs (262) while finishing second in terms of hits (1455), RBI (816), and batting average (.266). Unreal numbers for a club that possesses quite a few players under the age of 27 on the roster.
Individual achievements line the board, as Guerrero Jr. sits high on quite a few offensive leaderboards and was even competing for a Triple Crown this year and is in the mix for the AL MVP and the first base Silver Slugger award.
Semien broke the home run record for second baseman in a single season with 45 and Bichette led all shortstops in terms of home runs with 29 knocks. Both of them should also be in line for the Silver Slugger awards as well.
Teoscar Hernandez led the team in terms of RBI (116) and even missed two to three weeks earlier in the season. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. finished the season on fire and Springer was phenomenal in the last series against Baltimore while the Blue Jays would finish the campaign with four different players reaching the 100 RBI mark before the final bell today.
Pitching-wise, the Blue Jays finish with a collective 3.91 ERA and finish tenth in the league in terms of ERA.
Ray led the AL in ERA (2.84), innings pitched (193.1) and strikeouts (248) and should win the Cy Young award this year, an absolute travesty if it goes to someone else to be quite honest.
Acquired at the deadline, Jose Berrios was great with the Jays, pitching to a 3.58 ERA through 12 starts while rookie pitcher Alek Manoah was the biggest surprise of the season, a 3.22 ERA through 20 starts, and would be in the mix for the Rookie of the Year award if he didn’t make his debut later in May. Richards and Cimber were excellent in the bullpen after being acquired around the deadline and Mayza was the feel-good story of the year after missing last season with Tommy John surgery. Romano cemented himself as the closer of the future and he looks to be like an absolute unit for years to come.
The season may be over for the Blue Jays but the team and the fanbase should not hang their heads very long. The core of this roster is going to be around for years to come and even with the impending free agency of Semien and Ray, the Jays are still a dangerous team if those two choose to sign elsewhere.
Onward and upward to next season and time to switch gears to the impending off-season!