It is no secret that the Toronto Blue Jays bats have not lived up to expectations so far this season. Boasting some of the hottest hitters in baseball like Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, and Teoscar Hernandez, the Jays club finds themselves ranked 15th in batting average (.234), 17th in OPS (.678), and 19th in OBP (.300). The numbers get even more absurd when it comes to runners in scoring position, as the Jays roster boasts a .190 batting average, ranked 29th in the MLB while also only adding 89 RBI.
This obviously is not going to do the club any favours in a tough AL East division but one would think the Jays will eventually hit their way out of this funk sooner rather than later. Just last season the Blue Jays led multiple batting related statistical categories and had two players finish within the top three in AL MVP voting.
While they did take the series against the Seattle Mariners earlier this week, there is no better time for the Blue Jays bats to find their rhythm at home and put some runs on the scoreboard when the Cincinnati Reds and their league-worst 11-26 record come to town for a three-game weekend series starting tonight.
The struggling Cincinnati Reds come to town this weekend, hopefully providing the right opportunity for the Blue Jays to awaken their bats after a slow start to the season.
Castillo has not yet found a groove this season, throwing to a 5.59 ERA through just two starts after beginning the season on the IL. The Reds’ former top prospect Hunter Greene will be interesting to watch, as the flamethrower is coming off the heels of a 7.1 inning performance against the Pirates where he didn’t allow a single hit while striking out nine with five walks. Unfortunately, he earned the loss even though the Reds pitching staff did not allow a single hit all game and Greene’s record went to 1-6 on the year while his ERA improved to 6.21.
Right-hander Connor Overton gets the last game, having been called up to the Reds squad at the end of April and finding some early success in the rotation, starting four games while allowing only five earned runs through 24.2 innings of play. Hopefully, the Jays have some more information on their former pitcher, although he did spend more time in Buffalo’s bullpen last year compared to his time at the big league level, making seven starts out of his 21 appearances with the Bisons.
Collectively, the Reds pitching staff owns a league-worst 5.85 ERA on the year and has allowed a league-high 203 earned runs and 50 home runs. Considering the Blue Jays have had one of the toughest schedules in the Major Leagues so far, having a series against a struggling team like the Reds is just what this club needs to get back into the AL East race and start to gain some ground on both the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
These types of series are ones that you hope the Blue Jays can capitalize on and turn into some wins, especially since the club has not faced too many struggling clubs early in the season (at least at the same level as the Reds). It’s time to put the barrel on the ball and find some hits at the Rogers Centre before the club heads on a road trip to face the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Angels next week.