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Are The Dog Days Over Yet?

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Photo credit:© Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Veronica Chung
8 months ago
When it rains, it rains. When it pours, it pours.
After the Blue Jays crushed the Boston Red Sox’s collective soul in a three-game sweep, they laboured to survive a four-game series against the middling Cleveland Guardians with a split. Just when this team showed promise for a productive and consistent offence, their lineup faltered in the face of formidable pitching performances over the past few days.
This was a moment when the fans confirmed their perennial disappointment towards the 2023 Blue Jays. Just when they showed a glimpse of hope for a winning stretch, it all evaporated fast as the offence blanked out helplessly. Most fans thought the Jays’ return home would help them to get back on track, but the offensive slump continued while the pitching couldn’t hold its ground. In the end, the Jays had to confront a bitter 6-2 loss against the surging Chicago Cubs.
But on the bright side, the Jays welcomed José Bautista for his Level of Excellence induction ceremony the day after their agonizing game on Friday night. As Jays fans across Canada witnessed the ceremony, they fondly recalled Bautista’s unreal career while sharing an endless amount of bat flip content from the historic 2015 playoff run. And with that, the 2015 Blue Jays seemed almost elusive as the 2023 Blue Jays toiled through games without much success in the dog days of summer.
Aug 12, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista waves to the fans before being inducted into the Level of Excellence before an MLB game against the Chicago Cubs at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
It’s all too easy to put the 2015 season on a pedestal. Sure, there will be no replicating 2015 with all the AL East opponents being fiercely competent and the Jays missing out on their chance to narrow the division lead on multiple occasions. But it’s important to put the 2015 Jays in a full-season context too.
The 2015 Jays were nothing short of a disappointment at the beginning of their season. With an 11-12 record in April and a 12-17 record in May, their performance didn’t scream a playoff-bound team with a mediocre record. They had a hot June with an 18-9 winning record, but then, the team ground through to muster up a 12-13 record.
When these 2015 Jays headed into August, they had a 53-51 record with a lot to prove. They needed to deliver a pitch that their story isn’t over just yet and that they can make a compelling case for a stunning playoff run. And that’s what they did exactly.
They tore through August with unbelievably exhilarating wins until they produced an incredible 21-6 record and carried that momentum into September when they won 18 more games. That’s how they secured first place in a cutthroat AL East and entered an unforgettable playoff race.
Unlike the 2015 Blue Jays, the 2023 Jays quickly established themselves as a playoff contender with a strong 18-10 record when they headed into May. After their blip of a May with an 11-17 losing record, the Jays consistently won more games than they lost with a 16-11 record in June and a 14-10 record in July. Contrary to what most Jays fans think, the 2023 Jays have been nothing but consistent in their overall win-loss record despite some inconsistencies in their execution on a daily basis. With this confounding level of consistency on top of a steady win pace, the 2023 Jays are also at crossroads where they have to fully achieve their true potential. In other words, it’s time for them to prove if they got the “dawg” in them or not.
The 2015 Blue Jays certainly had a flair for the dramatic compared to the 2023 Blue Jays with more ups and downs. What made them stand out, in the end, was their clutch capability to solidify their place in the playoffs. The 2023 Blue Jays are also more than capable of going on a tear and fulfilling their dreams. With a stellar pitching staff and a paper-perfect offensive lineup, they have a chance to show what they are fully capable of, just like the 2015 Blue Jays.
Only time will tell as to how the 2023 Jays’ season will pan out. The story isn’t quite over, and the Jays still have time to control their narrative. It’s solely up to them as to how they want to finish their story. What’s clear is rather than resisting the uncertainties, the Jays have to embrace the rollercoaster and play their hearts out. Remember, it’s not the end until it’s the end. Let the Jays show what they are capable of.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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