Will the Blue Jays actually be able to get some momentum going?

Photo credit:© Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Veronica Chung
1 month ago
Heading to the south side of Chicago after an embarrassing loss in Detroit, the Toronto Blue Jays had an enormous chip on their shoulders. With an underwhelming win-loss record of 23-29, Toronto desperately needed to get back in the win column to squeeze out an ounce of something adjacent to momentum.
Fortunately, the Blue Jays understood their assignment as they set foot in Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago. They got the job done, defeating the Chicago White Sox on Monday night with a score of 5-1. Subsequently, they secured the series win against the White Sox on Tuesday night by scoring seven runs while only allowing two runs. A series sweep was in sight but wasn’t guaranteed as the Blue Jays entered the last game of the series on Wednesday evening.
To put things into perspective, Toronto hadn’t won a single series from April 22 to May 19 until they finally faced the White Sox at home. Pitching, defence, and offence struggled to help each other out, and the Blue Jays continued their downward spiral without finding any viable solution that could cure their curse. Besides, Toronto was still the last-place team in the dreaded American League East and they were five games out of the Wild Card Race.
The Blue Jays had to take advantage of the easier schedule to come out of a maelstrom. Their mission to win went awry when they faced the Detroit Tigers in a four-game series, and their three-game series against the White Sox was their chance to scrape out as many wins as possible. If Toronto were to salvage its season, sweeping Chicago wasn’t just a nice-to-have. It was a requirement whether they liked it or not.
The team did what was required of them. After much trouble and lack of scoring on Wednesday night, they successfully swept the series against the White Sox. This was Toronto’s first series sweep of the season, and the team is now on a three-game winning streak.
But don’t get fooled by the sweet taste of a hard-earned series sweep. The Blue Jays achieved the bare minimum after flirting with disaster – this is hardly a cause for celebration. That’s not to say that Toronto can’t revel in its victory because every win counts. However, that doesn’t change the fact that the team has failed to create and carry any form of sustainable momentum throughout the season thus far.
Some of the Blue Jays’ misfortune can be blamed on sheer luck. Things sometimes don’t pan out despite the best efforts, and that’s just how it goes. Unfortunately, luck can’t be the sole reason why Toronto has been in a tailspin. Puzzling roster construction, a lack of minor-league talents, injuries, and perpetual offensive woes have all contributed to the team’s chronic underperformance.
Relying on a bounce-back strategy was always going backfire for the Blue Jays when the surrounding cast around the offensive core got relatively worse compared to the 2023 season. While the team became highly dependent on a small number of stars and veterans to perform, the teams around the league only got better as they aggressively added helpful talents during the offseason. It was just a matter of time before Toronto realized they were no longer the favourites to win anything against steep competition.
Just like that, each series slowly slipped away from the Blue Jays one by one. What seemed like a softer schedule started to look more complicated than before, and easier opponents turned into Goliaths they never asked for. That’s how Toronto got to a point where it had to rely on beating the White Sox–the worst team in the league–to breathe life into the team.
The Blue Jays’ road trip in Chicago wasn’t supposed to be the ultimate lifeline for the struggling team. Instead, it was supposed to be a welcome respite to extend a solid winning streak for a contender. Had Toronto banked in more wins ahead of time, its series against a weaker rival would have been one of many highlights in the season. Yet, the harsh reality is that the Blue Jays’ fate depended on the outcome of this very series.
To make matters worse, the Blue Jays could be in a predicament as they may lose starting pitcher Alek Manoah to the Injured List. The team has yet to be immune to pitching injuries this season, and the growing injured list from both relief and starting pitching has stunted potential progress.
For Toronto to return to its winning ways, it has to give up on emulating the past glory with a roster that isn’t hitting for power or pitching to perfection. The only way forward is to give wacky, scrappy ideas a go, no matter how outrageous it looks. That will mean giving underrated players a chance based on performances while not shying away from rejigging the roster or lineup whenever possible. Most importantly, cultivating a culture where players can have fun is crucial to boosting morale.
Toronto’s series in the Guaranteed Rate Field would never save its entire season. That series was never supposed to be in an untenable position of turning the team’s season around anyway. The Blue Jays have always been in control of their own destiny, but they now also bear the immense pressure to play their best baseball every time they go out on the field from now on. That’s simply the price of doing similar things repeatedly, expecting the same results.

Check out these posts...