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The Blue Jays may have a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde problem

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Photo credit:© Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Veronica Chung
24 days ago
There are few stories better than novelist Robert Louis Stevenson’s Stange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which shows two polar opposite personas battling each other. As we know, Dr. Henry Jekyll is a kind and intelligent scientist while Mr. Edward Hyde is a cruel and haunting man who isn’t afraid of resorting to violence. We are left to wonder what the connection between Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is until it’s revealed towards the end of the book that they are the exact same person. 
Something that strikes a chord with us is Dr. Jekyll’s struggle with the duality of human nature and his attempt at balancing two contrasting personalities. While their struggle isn’t as murderous or sinister, there’s no doubt that the Toronto Blue Jays are grappling with their identity as they try to survive the first week of the 2024 baseball season. So far, the Blue Jays have shown two different versions of themselves already in a short period. The first version is the one with white-hot offence and sharp pitching and the other is the one that’s oblivious to scoring or run prevention. 
We’ve seen the version of Toronto that wasn’t afraid to score runs when they played a tough four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays. The Blue Jays then scored eight and nine runs in two games to show off their true offensive potential and by doing so, they offered a glimpse of what the team can do if everything is clicking together in the lineups. When the Blue Jays were basking in their prowess with a secure enough lead, it seemed that Toronto was finally getting out of its funk – or curse – and was going to achieve great things. 
But before Toronto could become even more optimistic, the Blue Jays didn’t hesitate to showcase their lows swiftly in less than a week. In a span of a few games, this team struggled to muster up even one or two runs against the Rays for the other two games and lost both helplessly. You’d think that was enough suffering but the slump didn’t stop when the Blue Jays arrived in Texas to face the Houston Astros. This time, Toronto lost against the Astros with a score of 0-10 and handed a historic no-hit win to young starting pitcher Ronel Blanco.
As the Blue Jays played almost a week’s worth of games, their performance uncannily resembled that of the 2023 season. It was only a year ago when Toronto tried to become more consistent in their continued inconsistency but it was a losing battle since its offensive core took a step back and never found its stride even when the team reached the playoffs. But the 2023 Blue Jays also demonstrated a flash of potential when they scored in bunches in a few games from time to time, and there were times when the team beat the Rays by scoring 20 runs while only allowing one run from their opponent. 
Fast forward to 2024, Toronto is already facing a similar puzzling conundrum that it was dealing with last year. The team’s trouble with offensive consistency could turn into a theme for the Blue Jays faster if they show their inconsistency more often. Toronto almost elevated the scoring drought concerns when the team couldn’t crack Houston’s starting pitcher, Framber Valdez, and came up empty for the bulk of the innings on Tuesday night. There were plenty of opportunities to score but the team seemed to waste them away even when the Astros tried to hand them an easy win with head-scratching errors on the basepaths. 
The most infuriating part was that there were errors from both Toronto and Houston throughout the game but they didn’t seem to deter Houston from being more successful with hitting and eventually scoring. The Astros also got to Toronto’s starting pitcher José Berríos to take him out of the game a bit earlier than expected. By the time the Blue Jays reached the top of the ninth, the score was still 1-0 and it seemed that Houston was going to run away with a win while leaving Toronto to figure out their perplexing offensive woes. 
Thankfully, baseball gods had other plans to save Toronto from its excruciating suffering. When the Astros’ closer Josh Hader walked designated hitter Justin Turner and faced rookie Davis Schneider with one more out to go, Schneider launched a home run toward the left field of Minute Maid Park to score exactly two runs for the Blue Jays. That’s how Toronto ran away with a 2-1 win in an agonizing fashion despite the persistent offensive struggles.
But in the end, a win is a win; there are still 156 games to be played. If you need another reminder about how early it is, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Detroit Tigers have 5-0 and 4-0 records, respectively. They’re certainly not going to win 162 games, let alone 100 games. There is still a world where the Blue Jays find their explosive offensive identity quickly and stick to that positive consistency. 
However, we’ve already identified that the Blue Jays are still struggling with their duality even in the new season. Just like Dr. Jekyll, Toronto recognizes the thorough and primitive duality in the field of its consciousness. There’s no denying that the Blue Jays are radically both – a team that feasts in runs and a team that wrestles with continuous scoring droughts. What we can hope for right now is that the Blue Jays’ Dr. Jekyll prevails in suppressing their Mr. Hyde so the team can break its own playoff curse for once. 
The only thing is that the Stange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ends in a tragic death for both Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde since they are identical. If that’s anything, it serves as a warning for the Blue Jays that they may witness more misfortunes if they continue to struggle with their team identity moving forward. No pressure.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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