The Blue Jays need to step up their clutch hitting if they want to go deep in the postseason
By Jason Fam
Before the 2023 season kicked off, who would have thought come mid-May the biggest problem for the Blue Jays would be from the offense? Well, unfortunately that has been the case. They have guys like Matt Chapman and Kevin Kiermaier massively stepping up, but overall, the offense has not clicked at the same time. This has led to a mediocre 4.55 runs per game, good for 13th best in the league. When trying to pinpoint a reason the offense has struggled so far, it could be from their lack of success with RISP. For the Jays this is a crucial figure that needs to improve in order for them to be competitive in the beast that is the AL East.
Through the first 47 games of the season, the Jays are 24th in the major leagues with a .235 average, and 23rd with a .696 OPS. But what has been the most cause of concern came from the 10 game homestand where they hit .198 and had an OPS of .530 with RISP. Both statistics are in the bottom-five of the league during this time. The Jays are too good to struggle in these crucial in-game situations and it has not been an issue for them in the past. In 2022, the Jays were far better with a .258 average and a .773 OPS in these situations.
Thinking back to this homestand, the Jays could have fared much better with just one or two more timely hits. Just yesterday, the Jays had many chances with RISP. Four times they had a runner on 3rd with less than two outs and they were not able to capitalize on the situation. The Jays finished 3-16 with RISP in this game, with two infield hits that did not score a run and the other was an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th. They went on to lose the game in 11 innings, but just one or two more hits when they had men on could have seen them win the game in standard nine-inning fashion.
Even when they won during this homestand, they lacked in this statistic. In the 3-0 victory over the Yankees, the Jays went 1-for-17 with RISP. With the one hit being the walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th. But if the Jays pitching had not been so dominant, the offense would not have had this many chances to eventually break through.
The point is, the Jays have been terrible in these crucial situations, and it is costing them games. Games they may look back on in August and dwell upon. They now sit in last place in the AL East, 8.5 games back of the first place Rays in what has been a forgetful first few weeks of May.