Historic first week of the season has Blue Jays fans concerned

Jays bats set new franchise records in Houston for fewest hits (9) and batting average (.106) in a 3-game series.
Toronto Blue Jays v Houston Astros
Toronto Blue Jays v Houston Astros / Logan Riely/GettyImages

The 2024 season is not off to an auspicious start for the Toronto Blue Jays. In fact, they are the first team in modern MLB history to lose both a no-hitter and one-hitter within the first seven games.

The bats have been in a slumber, with the same old concern from last year surfacing again with runners in scoring position (RISP). The team only has 12 RBI with RISP, tied for 24th in the league. They’re only hitting .222 in those situations (8 hits in 36 at bats), with a dreadful .619 OPS.

To make matters worse, they only combined for 9 hits in their three-game series in Houston. They were no-hit in the series opener, only pulled out game two thanks to a 9th inning Davis Schneider dinger off new Astros closer Josh Hader, and then were one-hit to lose game three. Their 7 home runs season-to-date rank 12th in baseball.

Sadly, they plumbed the depths with that pathetic offensive output in Houston, setting new franchise records for fewest hits (9) and batting average (.106) in a 3-game series.

While there are already early calls for the offensive strategy under manager John Schneider, offensive coordinator Don Mattingly and hitting coach Guillermo Martinez to change, savvy Jays fans may have noticed that the analytics group under general manager Ross Atkins continues to hold sway in setting the lineup.

Davis Schneider was inexplicably benched Wednesday night after his 9th inning heroics in Tuesday’s win, with his manager explaining that Astros starter Cristian Javier’s high heat was a better match up for Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Cavan Biggio, who combined to go 0-for-4 with two walks and an IKF strikeout.

Fans will remember after the disappointing wild card series exit last year, team president Mark Shapiro at his year end presser said, “There needs to be a higher level of transparency and communication with our players in our preparation and game-planning process.”

“We need to be more open, we need to be more transparent about who the people are that are in the room, what the purpose for them being in the room is, and the information that is provided to our staff and John before each game,” said Shapiro.

So is that what this? Or should Jays’ fans be wondering out loud after only 7 games why $10.5M man Kevin Kiermaier is starting games after a 1-for-18 slump to open the season; why not play Daulton Varsho in CF and Davis Schneider in LF?

Is Isiah Kiner-Falefa (.618 OPS) preventing both Ernie Clement and Schneider from getting more at bats? And does the two-year, $15M contract for IKF already seem like an awfully big mistake? And with George Springer, Varsho and Alejandro Kirk combining for only 8 hits in 67 at bats so far, are we in for another long season offensively?

Yes its early, but after an historically bad opening week of the season, Blue Jays fans have every right to be concerned. Before long it will be July, and if the offence continues to struggle like this, no doubt the chatter on trading potential free agents in the next two years - Danny Jansen, Yusei Kikuchi, Yimi García, Trevor Richards, Kiermaier, Justin Turner, Daniel Vogelbach, Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Chris Bassitt, Biggio, IKF and the entire backend of the bullpen - will only start to get louder.