Things haven’t been going well for the Blue Jays lately, and while it’s not as bad as it could be (they’re still in a playoff spot), I understand where the concern comes from.
If you’re wondering how the Blue Jays could still be in the playoff picture, that’s mostly thanks to the additional spot that was added ahead of this season. As things stand, the 18-17 Blue Jays would be in the sixth and final spot in the American League, trailing the 25-9 Yankees, 23-12 Astros, 24-13 Angels, 21-14 Rays. and 20-15 Twins. As of this writing on Sunday evening, they hold a one game lead over both the White Sox and Guardians, who are each 16-17.
Having said that, I understand why the team and its fan base aren’t satisfied with barely scrapping into the playoffs, especially after all of the hype that surrounded this team before the season began. Lately it feels like there are shades of 2013 around the Blue Jays, when they came in as one of the World Series favourites and then proceeded to lay an egg with a 74-88 record and a last place finish in the AL East.
While things haven’t been great lately, we’re nowhere near that level of disappointment from the 2022 version of this club, and it’s far too early to overreact to a poor stretch from a talented team. Just yesterday our own Henry Wright wrote about the reasons to still remain optimistic about the season for the Blue Jays, and it’s worth a read.
One of the things that Henry pointed to, and that all Blue Jays are all too familiar with, is the lack of production coming from the lineup these days. They wasted another quality start from Alek Manoah on Sunday against the Rays, and another opportunity to win an important game against a division rival. The final score was 3-0, and while it was frustrating that errors led to two unearned runs in the sixth inning, it really didn’t matter since the Blue Jays couldn’t put a run on the board over the course of nine innings.
The reason I’m not overly panicked about the Blue Jays right now is that I believe in the talent on this roster, especially when it comes to hitting. Admittedly I’m a little concerned about George Springer’s health after he sprained his ankle on Friday, but it was encouraging to see him back in the lineup on Sunday even if I thought his return was a little premature. Even if he has to miss some time, there are still plenty of weapons on this team. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. finished 2nd in AL MVP voting last season. Bo Bichette hit .297 with 29 home runs, and Teoscar Hernandez won his second straight Silver Slugger award. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. was one of the best hitters in the American League over the last few months of the 2021 season, and on it goes.
The Jays could panic and try to swing an early season trade, but there aren’t going to be many sellers when the schedule hasn’t even reached the quarter pole yet. I’ve seen a few tweets from fans that are really overreacting and calling for some changes to the coaching staff, but again, don’t forget that the Jays are still technically in a playoff spot. They’re not going to hire Charlie Montoyo or any of the hitting coaches when they’re 18-17 and we’re only halfway through May.
For now, Montoyo and the Blue Jays will have to take a deep breath and find a way to get back to what they do best, which has been their biggest weakness so far in 2022. At some point the Jays are going to start hitting like we know they can, and this cold stretch might even seem a bit funny. For now though, it’s been a frustrating run of very winnable games turning into mounting losses. I’m sure the sense of urgency is growing in the Blue Jays clubhouse after a poor nine-game stretch, but it’s no time to hit the panic button just yet.