Blue Jays struggle coming back in games when they trail by three runs or more

If an opponent goes up by at least 3 runs against Toronto, it’s essentially game over.
Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals
Toronto Blue Jays v Kansas City Royals / Ed Zurga/GettyImages

The Blue Jays’ bats broke out on Monday for a six run outburst, the first time since Apr. 6 - or a span stretching 21 games - that they've scored that many runs. Compare that with the top teams in the AL East, and Blue Jays fans have to start asking if perhaps this offence just isn’t very good?

The Blue Jays have only scored 110 runs season to date, for an average of 3.55 runs per game. That ranks 26th in baseball; Toronto ranks 21st with only 27 home runs and also 21st on OPS at .675. They have a negative run differential of -26, and their OPS drops to dead last in MLB with runners in scoring position (RISP) at .562, with only 69 RBI in that situation, tied for 27th.

Compare that with the Yankees, who scored at least 15 runs in back-to-back games for the first time since 2007 with their 15-3 win on Saturday and 15-5 win on Sunday in Milwaukee; they’ve scored 150 runs so far this year, and have a run differential of +39. But New York trails the Orioles, who have scored 157 runs this year, with a +38 run differential.

Inability to hit in the clutch or come from behind when trailing

What’s more worrisome might be Toronto’s inability to come back in games where they trail by 3 or more runs. After Tuesday’s 4-1 loss at home to Kansas City, the Blue Jays are now 0-37 since the 2023 All-Star break when trailing by 3 runs or more, the only MLB team unable to come back from that kind of deficit since then.

In other words, if an opponent goes up by at least 3 runs against Toronto, it’s essentially game over. That implies that Jays hitters can’t manufacture runs when they trail, can’t come up big in such situations, and just aren’t clutch hitters.

That may just be a reality that Blue Jays fans have to accept. We all know about their struggles with runners in scoring position, but the lack of clutch hitting when the team is behind, and that inability to come back and wins games when they give up a lead of 3 or more runs, is troubling. It doesn’t suggest bad luck or cold bats; it suggests that the Blue Jays hitters again just aren’t very good after a frustrating 2023.

If anything, the Blue Jays 15-16 record suggests they’ve actually been lucky relative to their Pythagorean win-loss record of 13-18, an estimate of what their actual winning percentage should be given their runs scored and runs allowed. Without some solid starting pitching, where would they be?