The Blue Jays are finding new ways to lose and they’re quickly sinking

Toronto Blue Jays Jordan Romano
Photo credit:© Brian Bradshaw Sevald-USA TODAY Sports
Veronica Chung
22 days ago
Has the time come to place a choking label on the Toronto Blue Jays? Some will say Sunday’s ludicrous display might not prevent such a shameful designation from soon being glued onto the once-hopeful white and blue. 
Sunday’s matinee started with the usual lethargic Blue Jays’ offensive start. The listless Blue Jays again didn’t score any runs in the first inning on Sunday morning and continued the scoreless first-inning streak for 18 straight games. The glimpse of redemption all disappeared when the offence struggled to score, and starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi gave up four runs at the bottom of the second. When the bottom of the third ended, the Blue Jays had already given up five runs to the Detroit Tigers.  
Surprisingly enough, Toronto began slowly chipping away to cut down Detroit’s lead starting at the top of the fourth. The Blue Jays scored a total of five runs up until the top of the sixth, but the Tigers also scored four more runs when the bottom of the sixth ended, bringing the score up to 9-6 in Detroit’s favour. 
While Toronto scored one more run at the top of the seventh to close the gap to a two-run difference, catching up to Detroit seemed impossible. However, to everyone’s surprise, the Blue Jays launched their comeback with a five-run top of the eighth inning that consisted of two singles, one walk and one monster three-run home run to take the lead from the Tigers. The game had flipped on its head and the score was now 11-9 in Toronto’s favour. 
This was it. This was the momentum the Blue Jays needed to atone their sins for awful offensive outputs and propel themselves back into competence. And yet, after scoring in five consecutive innings, Toronto once again failed to hold down the lead that opened the door for a stinging revenge from Detroit. Toronto’s bullpen gave up two runs at the bottom of the eighth and let the Tigers tie the game to 11-11 and closer Jordan Romano unceremoniously surrendered a walk-off home run to Matt Vierling. By the time the game had ended, the score was 14-11 and the Blue Jays banked yet another painful series loss on the road. 
If there was any slight sign of optimism, it was the spark in the offence towards the end of the game. Scoring runs have been a consistent issue for the 2024 Blue Jays and despite some disappointing moments in the four-game series in Detroit, the team succeeded in reaching their offensive potential at least in two games by scoring nine runs on Thursday and 11 runs on Sunday. In fact, Toronto’s run differential now stands at 10 while the offence scored an average of 5.6 runs since general manager Ross Atkins held the press conference nearly a week ago. 
Nonetheless, the offensive resurgence hasn’t coincided with the pitching at all. As a matter of fact, the Blue Jays’ pitching has been struggling overall, especially when it comes to relief pitching. The starting quintet of Chris Bassitt, José Berríos, Kevin Gausman, Yusei Kikuchi and Alek Manoah have provided solid starts aside from some shaky performances here and there but the bullpen hasn’t been as sharp as prior years, much to Toronto’s dismay. Even FanGraphs confirms that the Blue Jays’ relief pitching only ranks 27th in MLB. 
With a 23-29 record to date, the Blue Jays have effectively played themselves out of American League East division contention. Theoretically speaking, they still have enough time to catch up to secure one of the three Wild Card spots with 110 games left to go in the season, but it remains a tall order. According to Sportsnet reporter Ben Nicholson-Smith, the Blue Jays would need to finish with 66 wins to match last season’s total of 89 wins, which can is the equivalent of a 97-win pace.
There’s no sense in denying how the Blue Jays are sinking at their current pace. Chaos has already dominated enough of their season in a sea of the wrath of baseball gods and randomness. The Blue Jays’ job here isn’t to fight the havoc in front of them but to weather it together as a team on the raft of life.

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