After recording a losing road trip, Blue Jays return home to face the music

Photo credit:© Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Veronica Chung
10 hours ago
The Kansas City Royals’ press box broke the news first to media members: “Attention, media it’s over.” No one needed any further explanation to understand what that meant – the game was over for good. With that cut-and-dried announcement, Toronto Blue Jays unceremoniously handed over a game and a series win to the Kansas City Royals after a rain delay that began at 3:38 p.m. in Kansas City. To understand, what exactly transpired, we need to go back to the beginning of the last game of this gruesome four-game series.
The weather was never going to be on anyone’s side. With rain forecast in the early Thursday afternoon in Kansas City, the lethargic Blue Jays needed to find a way to at least split the series after losing two games in a row against the surging young Royals. Fortunately, the rain didn’t delay or suspend the game, giving both teams a chance to battle for the last game of the long four-game series. But that go-ahead proved to be a blessing for one and a curse for the other.
As soon as the game began, the Blue Jays succumbed to the Royals’ de facto ace, Cole Ragans, as they struck out twice and grounded out to end the top of the first. Unlike Toronto’s offence, which looked listless at best, the Royals jumped on the opportunity to score against starting pitcher José Berríos quickly by taking advantage of the walk and cashing it in through catcher Salvador Perez’s two-run home run. The rain started pouring again as the game went on and the Blue Jays eked out one run through Ernie Clement’s single during the top of the fourth to cut down the Royals’ lead by half. 
Both teams never scored again as the rain soaked the field with lightning and the tarp came out to signal the rain delay. For a split second, it seemed that the game would resume, but the game was cut short with crew chief Chris Guccione announcing that the shortstop and third-base area was “so spongy and soft.” Just like that, the Blue Jays were bumped down to a measly 0.500 record with 13 wins and 13 losses. All it took was a three-game skid and an inglorious rain delay for Toronto to flirt with obscurity. 
Winning three games in a rough seven-game road trip isn’t the absolute worst outcome for the Blue Jays at first glance. The problem is that everyone else, especially in the American League (AL) East division, is playing tremendously better baseball compared to Toronto. As Toronto returns home with a losing road trip, the team sunk to the fourth in AL East without much sign of life. 
Toronto’s offence failed to score more than five runs in the last seventeen games. In fact, the Blue Jays only secured three wins while accumulating 12 losses in games they scored less than five runs. The lineup hasn’t rebounded from the funk with star players like right fielder George Springer, shortstop Bo Bichette and first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. struggling to produce, and home run power has seemingly been sapped from the team in the year 2024 with Toronto only ranking 22nd in team home runs. 
Even worse news is that the Blue Jays’ pitching has been riddled with injuries thus far. Thankfully, Toronto’s starting pitchers are safe from injuries for now, but the bullpen has been the victim of injuries with Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson delaying the start of their seasons. Later, Chad Green and Bowden Francis were both placed on a 15-day injured list. With the volatility of the bullpen, Toronto stretched itself thin and surrendered runs as many relief pitchers visibly struggled at different times. 
For an offence with great expectations, the Blue Jays haven’t lived up to the offensive prowess they were supposed to possess. If a team’s true strength is in its explosive offence, it should be able to bail out pitchers from having bad days by mercilessly punishing the opponents by scoring multiple runs. 
If there is a reason why the Blue Jays were able to win more games than they should have, it’s because the team’s pitching helped to prevent runs successfully. It was never about the offence for this team; rather, Toronto’s pitching shined more than anything else. Although starters Kevin Gausman and Yariel Rodriguez struggled at times, the remaining three starting pitchers, Chris Bassitt, José Berríos and Yusei Kikuchi, provided a combined 10 quality starts for the team despite the overall lack of offensive support from the lineup. Without the rotation’s stellar record, the Blue Jays could have been easily teetering toward a collapse. 
The 2024 Toronto Blue Jays were supposed to be different. With a disastrous playoff exit in 2022, Toronto has been waiting to witness the day when the offence and pitching finally all clicked together for once. And it did for a while but that spark never lasted. Sadly, the Blue Jays still haven’t found an answer to their mysterious power outage even after playing 190 games since 2023. 
Toronto was also supposed to find the answer to its missing power internally for this season. This simple solution made more sense on paper, as the team believed in bounce-back years from its key offensive contributors. The unfortunate part of this story is that only Daulton Varsho has carried the offence on his back, along with unexpected contributors like utility players Davis Schneider and Ernie Clement. 
There is still time for the Blue Jays to rewrite the stars. With 136 more games left in the season, Toronto has the chance to play with different ideas and try new things to reignite the passion. After all, teams have come back from the lowest of lows – who says the Blue Jays can’t be a part of that miracle anyway? 
The only roadblock for Toronto right now is that they will face the ever-powerful Los Angeles Dodgers without a rest day for a three-game series at home. As it stands, the Dodgers are second in all offensive categories after the Atlanta Braves, and the team has powerhouses like Freddie Freeman, Shohei Ohtani and Mookie Betts. This isn’t going to be an easy road to redemption for Toronto as it attempts to breathe life into the team.
Teams go through slumps all the time and have painful losing stretches against their will. The Blue Jays certainly didn’t aim for a deliberate failure but have ultimately failed to live up to the expectations so far. But with the mounting pressure to perform, any enduring stretches of losing records are a detriment to Toronto. 
The Blue Jays have dug themselves a hole and are at a point where they desperately need to find an inflection point to turn things around soon. However, if they fail to carry on the momentum soon, they could be sentenced to eternal mediocrity. There’s no time to sulk or cry. There’s only time to fight back. 

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