The Blue Jays can’t find their bats at home and now their playoff spot doesn’t look so secure
Photo credit:© Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
With just four games left in the regular season, the Blue Jays “magic number” for securing a playoff spot is more complicated than ever.
If the Jays win three games, they will hold a better record than at least two of the Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, or the Houston Astros, guaranteeing the Jays would be playing October baseball in either the second or third Wild Card spot. Considering the Mariners are facing off against the Rangers and Astros this week, Toronto’s playoff hopes are still high but these past two games against the New York Yankees are not boding well for a club looking to win their first playoff game since 2016.
After a disappointing series at home against Texas in mid-September, the Blue Jays responded by sweeping the Red Sox and playing well on a road trip in New York and Tampa, winning four of six games. Upon returning back to the Rogers Centre, the bats for Toronto have been pretty silent, as Michael King and the Yankees relief corps limited the club to three hits and zero runs followed by a dominant outing by Cy Young favourite Gerrit Cole that saw the Jays put up another zero in the runs column while only Brandon Belt could muster two hits on the day.
These past few weeks have been pretty consistent for how the Blue Jays have played this season – a rollercoaster of wins and losses with mixed results up and down the lineup that make fans want to pull their hair out at times while also remembering what this team is capable of when things are going the right way. While the club still has a solid footing in securing a postseason spot, every loss down the road takes the opportunity out of the Blue Jays’ hands, meaning they need to rely on other teams to determine their fate. In recent history, this didn’t pan out well for the Jays back in 2021, who narrowly missed out on postseason baseball right at the tail end of the campaign.
Blue Jays bats struggle and the playoff race gets a bit more intense after second loss to Yankees
Since returning to Canada earlier this week, the Jays’ bats have struggled to capitalize at the plate, with Guerrero Jr. striking out with the bases loaded in game one of the series while the Jays batters couldn’t find anything to hit off of Cole, who they faced last week to pretty similar results. Struggling against Cole makes more sense compared to what happened in game #1, as the right-hander has been lights out this season, but some key Blue Jays bats have been hitting to lesser results stretching even further back than the Texas series:
- Over his last 30 games, Matt Chapman owns a .187 average and a .263 OBP
- Over his last 15 games, Alejandro Kirk has seven hits through 40 at-bats with just four RBIs
- Past 15 games, George Springer has a .205 average
- Past 15 games, Kevin Kiermaier has 11 strikeouts through 42 at-bats (26.2%) and a .195 average
- Davis Schneider is currently 0 for his last 30 at-bats
As a team, over the last 15 days, the Blue Jays rank:
- Tied for 27th in hits (85)
- 28th in SLG (.332)
- 29th in OPS (.602) and OBP (.270)
- 30th in AVG (.195)
The pitching staff for the Blue Jays has been excellent for the Jays and one of the main reasons they are in their current position in the standings in the second spot of the Wild Card but the bats need to turn it around, otherwise, if they make the playoffs, it might be a short trip similar to what fans experienced last season. The concerns regarding the Blue Jays bats at this point in the season have merit, mostly because if the Blue Jays do indeed make the playoffs, they are going to face talented pitchers such as Sonny Gray (Twins), Pablo López (Twins), and Tyler Glasnow (Rays), and that is only in the Wild Card round.
As of right now, the Blue Jays hold the second spot in the Wild Card race as the club faces Yankees starter Luke Weaver, who owns a 6.47 ERA on the season but his last two recent outings have been strong, allowing just three earned runs through 9 1/3 innings. Should the Jays bats struggle again and the Blue Jays get swept by the Yankees before the Rays come to town, those who experienced the 1987 collapse are going to start coming out of the woodwork and with good reason.
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