Lifeless loss on Canada Day a perfect summary of the Blue Jays’ season

Photo credit:© Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Veronica Chung
17 days ago
Words aren’t enough to express the ailing state of the 2024 Toronto Blue Jays. Nothing has gone the Blue Jays’ way is an understatement as the team battles injuries and underperformance. Earning a series split against the Boston Red Sox in a four-game series was already extremely difficult, but the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros weren’t going to make things easier for the Blue Jays. 
The silver lining was that the Yankees and the Astros have each struggled over the course of the 2024 season, which opened up an opportunity for the Blue Jays to take advantage of both teams’ weaknesses in a back-to-back four-game series. New York depended on an offence driven by Aaron Judge and Juan Soto while Houston’s rotation was decimated with lengthy injuries. The task at hand seemed manageable for Toronto, yet this version of the Blue Jays found ways to make this into a dramatic battle. 
Despite all the concerns around the Blue Jays, the gauntlet of a schedule didn’t seem daunting when the team defeated the Yankees for the first game of the series on June 27 with a score of 9-3. But soon enough, the Blue Jays started showing their cracks as time went on. The team dropped the second game against the Yankees when the bullpen blew the save rather spectacularly. Toronto thankfully salvaged the third game of the series but eventually gave into New York’s dominance for the last game. 
While Toronto split the series with New York, the underlying concerns remained the same: pitching, defence and offence never clicked amid mounting injuries. When the Blue Jays’ lineup came to life, pitching could never provide a solid run prevention. However, when the pitching staff offered near-perfect performance, the offence could never score runs. This cycle continued to repeat itself for the past few months and has become the regular rhythm of Toronto’s baseball. In the end, the team’s inconsistency overshadowed the hope for a potential rebound.
The Blue Jays’ four-game series against the Astros was set to determine the team’s trade deadline trajectory. The baseball insiders already viewed Toronto as a seller at the deadline as soon as the team struggled to bounce back above 0.500. Nonetheless, Toronto’s front office showed unwavering faith in the team’s ability to make a red-hot run and hesitated around the idea of selling in general. 
As the pressure mounted for the Blue Jays to demonstrate firepower to put together a winning record, Toronto needed to start the series strong against Houston to revive any kind of optimism. Unfortunately, baseball gods remained cruel against the Blue Jays and dealt the worst hand possible. Toronto had to scratch first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and utility man Isiah Kiner-Falefa from the lineup over injury concerns not long before the first game against Houston. The only issue was that Guerrero Jr. and Kiner-Falefa were some of the better-performing players – the Blue Jays were losing important offensive capability with these late scratches. 
Sure enough, losing two key offensive contributors proved detrimental to the Blue Jays. Even when the team threatened Houston’s starting pitcher Hunter Brown by loading the bases, Toronto’s lineup couldn’t muster up hits to bring anyone home. In fairness, the Blue Jays scored one run but ultimately failed to beat up on Astros’ pitching and lost the game with a score of 3-1. 
Unlike the Blue Jays, the Astros were surging as their lineup found the stride while pitching adjusted to play to its strength. Their stars like Yordan Alvarez, Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve began to play like the stars – as their offence heated up, pitching was there to provide good run prevention. This is how Houston dug itself out of mediocrity and recorded 15-14 in May and 17-8 in June. 
The Blue Jays were supposed to overcome the hurdles much like the Astros. Instead, the team suffered from injury after injuries all across the roster and failed to create any sustainable winning spark and momentum. There is technically still time for the Blue Jays to climb back up before the trade deadline but that scenario has become increasingly improbable as the team grappled with consistency. 
Toronto was destined for more, but just about everything has gone wrong. The ongoing dissonance in pitching and offence has continued for the Blue Jays and even Lady Luck has given up on the team. At this point, the Blue Jays are waiting for their fate as an inevitable seller at the deadline. It’s only a matter of time until the team decides who they need to part with to correct the course. 
Unfortunate events have plagued different teams even during their contention windows and the Blue Jays surely aren’t the first to go through these trials. Rather than denying the uncomfortable truth, it’s time for the Blue Jays to acknowledge their place and look ahead to the future. After all, there is absolutely no shame in admitting that this is not the year.

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