It’s no secret right now that the Blue Jays are in an untimely slump midway through the season. The Seattle Mariners now sit just one game back of the Jays in the AL Wild Card and Baltimore Orioles sit just three games behind them in the division. A team with such high expectations coming into the campaign currently sitting 4th in the AL East come the All-Star break is quite a disappointment. The club is 2-8 in their last ten games and is on the verge of being swept by the Mariners if they drop today’s affair.
While the Blue Jays pitching has been a hot topic of late, the bats have also gone cold recently as well. The Jays have not scored more than three runs in a single contest dating back to last Saturday against the Tampa Bay Rays and the team has only mustered 13 runs over their last seven games, meaning the pitching has to be almost perfect like Alek Manoah last night in order to win ballgames.
Honestly, it’s just unacceptable and infuriating to watch, which is evident from social media last night with hordes of Jays fans joining in on the frustration. The fact of the matter is that this club just is riding a slump in a time where every game matters and the narrative of “it’s a long season” is past the point of no return. The Jays need to win ballgames, and whether that be through Ross Atkins trading the farm away or maybe some coaching staff changeups, something needs to give.
One thing that can be altered right now is the lineup, in that there need to be some changes at the top of the order. I understand letting players try to compete and play through their struggles but it’s time to do it towards the bottom of the order, as figuring it out in the top four spots isn’t working anymore.
The first move that needs to be made is moving Bo Bichette out of the second spot, as he is one player who is struggling the most out of the group right now. Since June 10th, Bichette owns a .238/.267/.381 slash line with 10 extra-base hits and 15 RBI but also has 32 strikeouts through 126 at-bats, sometimes looking outmatched at the plate. His .648 OPS through this timespan is just not what one would be expecting from a two-hole hitter and they need to find ways to get runners on, especially with the reoccurring issue concerning leaving runners in scoring position on base.
I would consider moving Lourdes Gurriel Jr. potentially into this spot, as he continues to swing a hot bat in June/July. His last 30 games have yielded a .431 OBP and 17 RBI, as the Cuban-born outfielder continues to find ways to get on base. Santiago Espinal would also be a strong candidate in this spot, considering he has been finding ways to get on base lately as well. The club could also move Vladimir Guerrero Jr. back to the two-hole as well, as he too is swinging a hot bat as of late. Throughout this past week, the righty-slugger has gone 10 for 28 but he hasn’t been hitting the long ball, making him a good candidate to get in front of others like Alejandro Kirk or Teoscar Hernandez who have been showing a bit more power and hopefully turn solo shots into crooked numbers on the scoreboard.
The Blue Jays have been struggling lately, going 2-8 in their last ten games. It is time to make some changes to the lineup and let the hot hitters bat more.
I imagine George Springer is going to continue hitting leadoff but he too has seen his fair share of struggles, potentially due to the elbow injury. He owns a .179 batting average and .292 OBP through his last 15 games and for a leadoff hitter, that’s just not going to cut it (although he did knock in that solo home run last night). Espinal would be another candidate to put here if the Jays truly want to send a message that the hottest hitting players are going to be at the top of the lineup. He also owns a .281 batting average hitting first in the order through seven games this season.
In an ideal world personally, I would like to see the following lineup:
- Springer – CF
- Espinal/Gurriel Jr. – 2B/LF
- Guerrero Jr. – 1B
- Kirk – C/DH
- Hernandez – RF
- Espinal/Gurriel Jr. – 2B/LF
- Bichette – SS
- Chapman – 3B
- Tapia/Biggio/Moreno – DH
This obviously changes depending on if Kirk or Moreno is catching but if you move Espinal up in the lineup and still want a speed threat in the ninth spot, Raimel Tapia or Cavan Biggio can give you that boost. Tapia has been a middle-of-the-road bat as of late while Biggio had a rough week but both are lefty bats getting into the lineup, adding a little bit of depth to the righty-dominant core.
I don’t expect this lineup to be accepted by everyone nor should it be, considering there are quite a few possibilities and some split stats that probably argue for one player over another but the point still remains: it’s time to shake up the Blue Jays lineup. It’s time to move some players around and let them figure out their issues away from the top of the rack.