After failing to complete sweep over Yankees, Blue Jays take winning record on another tough road trip

Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Veronica Chung
8 days ago
Heading into this week, the Toronto Blue Jays had a chip on their shoulders as they prepared to face the red-hot New York Yankees for a three-game series. Thankfully, the Blue Jays got their job done by taking the first two games on Monday and Tuesday. Little did they know, trouble was just brewing when they entered the top of the ninth inning for the very last game of the series on Wednesday.
Up until the ninth inning of the third game, the Blue Jays managed to score four runs while keeping the Yankees’ offence at bay by only allowing one run. Toronto was poised to potentially sweep the series against New York with a score of 4-1. It was finally time for the Blue Jays to silence the discourse about their eternal inferiority to established franchises like the Yankees. That would have been a satisfying ending to a tense series, but instead, Toronto’s bullpen couldn’t hold up the lead as New York found its offensive stride once again. 
Pitching woes began when Génesis Cabrera gave up a home run to Juan Soto to reduce Toronto’s lead to two runs. Cabrera successfully got out of the inning without surrendering any other runs, but when Erik Swanson came in to replace Cabrera to earn his safe after returning from the 15-day injured list. The game was supposed to end with Swanson showcasing his dominance, but unfortunately, he surrendered a home run while allowing a single and a double. 
Things didn’t get much better when Tim Mayza came in to load the bases and allowed Aaron Judge to bring in two more runs. In a matter of few minutes, Toronto let the Yankees tie the game by 4-4 and subsequently let them take the lead with a score of 6-4. Even though the Blue Jays had the bottom of the ninth as their chance to take the lead again, the team couldn’t create enough chaos and eventually gave in to the Yankees’ superiority. 
Despite the agonizing loss on Wednesday, the Blue Jays still have things to celebrate. The team won three straight series while seeing some bouncebacks from players like outfielder Daulton Varsho. But under the microscope, more concerning trends have been crippling Toronto much like last season. 
The Blue Jays may have won a total of six games during their first homestand, yet most of the wins weren’t simply convincing enough to signal Toronto’s strong rebound. Other than the game where the Blue Jays shut out the Colorado Rockies while scoring five runs, there were only one to three-run differences when they cashed in the runs. Toronto also largely lacked home run power while failing to adjust against opposing starting pitchers quickly. This was more pronounced when the Blue Jay lost games but was still noticeable even in winning games. 
Before Toronto lost the third game of the series to the Yankees, Toronto was on a four-game winning streak. If there were any lessons from last year about this team, it was that the team could never extend its winning streak even when they were seemingly on a roll. While winning streaks don’t guarantee a team’s playoff spot (the Cincinnati Reds had a 12-game winning streak but never made it to the playoffs last season), it shows how hot a team can get and take advantage of it. One of the major problems for Toronto last season was that the team got hot but never hot enough to convince people of their potential and consistency. 
As the team struggled to provide consistent offensive performance last year, the team’s pitching from top to bottom remained pristine and helped the Blue Jays win more games. Pitching luck was on Toronto’s side but the 2024 season already gave the team a scare about potential cracks in its pitching. Fortunately, there haven’t been any detrimental losses in Toronto’s pitching so far but at the same time, there is still no guarantee that the health will be on its side for the remaining 143 games.
With the uncertainty around pitching health, the Blue Jays offence would have to step up more to win games. That’s how the 2023 Texas Rangers cruised through their season all the way to the World Series despite the instability in their pitching. For now, Toronto hasn’t restored much confidence in their offensive power as they fell short when it came to maximizing runners in scoring position. There’s no doubt that the 2023 Blue Jays were more frustrating in terms of offensive woes but the 2024 Blue Jays share similar issues around its offence. 
In order for Toronto to prove people wrong, they have to step up more in every category, especially in offence. As the Blue Jays embark on a seven-game road trip to San Diego and Kansas City, their power and persistence will surely be tested. San Diego might be going through odd times as they deal with their balance sheets, but they succeeded in bringing in superb pitchers like Michael King and Dylan Cease. Kansas City is swiftly becoming a force to be reckoned with as they develop their talents around phenomenal shortstop Bobby Witt Jr.  Rest assured, this road trip won’t be any easy for the Blue Jays who are still searching for their true identity. 
The 2024 season hasn’t been kind to the Blue Jays and being in the unforgiving American League East division doesn’t help their case either. To add insult to injury, the American League is more competitive now with the rise of younger teams like the Cleveland Guardians, Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals. There will be more trials on the Blue Jays’ way and how they overcome these obstacles will prove whether they have it in them to make it to the finish line successfully.
Toronto is desperate to shake off all the burdens they took on from the last season. The unfortunate news is that they carried on most of them straight into this year. Nonetheless, there is still an opportunity for the Blue Jays to show exceptional skill and bravery to turn its narrative around. The Blue Jays are more than capable of giving us all hope of a white-hot winning record sometime in the near future. Whether they act on it on this treacherous road trip or not remains to be seen.

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