It’s that time of year again, it’s the MLB All-Star break and while everyone is set to enjoy the midsummer classic, the Blue Jays and their fans will start to think about the unique first half of the season and of course they will pray that this free-fall will soon stop and winning will become a norm again.
Let’s face it, it has been a disaster since that wonderful month of May. The Jays finished May at 34-24, they had won eight of their last ten games and were 3.5 games ahead the New York Yankees and 4.5 ahead of the Baltimore Orioles. The team was in in first place in the AL East and were playing brilliant baseball.
After a mediocre June, and a 4-1 Canada Day win over the Milwaukee Brewers the Jays were still in first, but only a game ahead of the Orioles. Fans were still optimistic, they were 46-39, after all, still a very respectable record, and in much better shape than they were at any point in the 2013 season.
Over the last two weeks though, everything has come to an abrupt halt. The Jays are now 49-47, they had a disastoruous road trip that that them go 2-8 and they are now in second place and losing ground to the Orioles. The team risks falling under .500 for the first time since May 6th.
So what happened exactly? A number of things have contributed to this team that reminds us of last year’s disaster season. In June the team started to lose more games consecutively, the Blue Jays were blowing leads as the bullpen which used to be a strength has become a weakness. John Gibbons management and decisions continue to be not only mind blowing, but are also not getting results and clearly effecting the teams play on the field. The great hitting we saw in May has fizzled and disappeared against right handers, and they might as well not even try to hit against lefties. Oh and let us not forget the Jays have a also been hit with a huge number of injuries recently. Injuries to key players like Brett Lawrie, Brendan Morrow (again), Adam Lind, Jose Bautista, and the worst injury of all Edwin Encarnacion. All this stuff can make a first place team crumble and fall through the standings. (SIA Team Profile)
Heading into the second half it has become clear that this team needs a lot of help if they want to make the playoffs. They need another bat, most likely an infielder who can either play second or third base. They also need a relief pitcher or two, and maybe a starter, as the number of innings worked by this bullpen is likely the reason for their recent performances. While the Starters stats look alright and individually they have pitched well on many nights, the lack of innings is becoming an issue and hurting the relief pitching. The Jays need need a lot of things and I’m not sure if the Jays will be able to make any trades, because their prospect pool is really small and the few that are so close to being ready to play in the bigs, probably won’t be given up, unless its for a player or two that will add depth for more than one season.
There have also been some moments that make you question this organization like sending Steve Delabar down to triple-A to work on his stuff, but they continue to keep Sergio Santos in the bullpen and he is still blowing it almost every time he’s on the mound. There’s John Gibbons who is still proving why the Jays should have never hired him, his newest thing seems to be a lack of confidence in the starting pitchers as he pulls them off the mound too early when they could go another inning, or he pulls them way too late when they were out of gas.
There are a number of things that make you question the team. Take the Adam Lind situation, where the team announced that he had a bad fracture in his foot and would be out for months. On the advice of his mother Lind had an MRI done, and it showed the fracture was not as bad as the team announced and he would only be out a few weeks. How does this happen?
Management has tried to backtrack and say that they were planning on having and MRI done on Lind and the “mother knows best” headlines aren’t as real as we think. However whatever the truth is in this story, it has to bring thoughts of the Blue Jays and the near constant stream of weird injuries they have had. Remember losing three starters who would need Tommy John Surgery in just four starts in 2012? Or the staff infection that former Blue Jay Alex Rios got in the home team club house? Do the Jays need to change or invest more into their training staff, because the injuries are becoming too much for this team and while injuries always happen in sports, the numbers on this team and the strangeness surrounding them seem out of the ordinary.
Whatever the real issue is with this team now (cough Gibbons again) the team has a couple of days to lick its wounds so to speak and figure out how they can win with the team they have now (bring back Delabar and get rid of Santos, just a suggestion) if the team works at it, maybe they can turn this bad play around and get a possible playoff spot, cause let’s face it the AL east is bad this year.
The AL East being this bad won’t happen every year, they Jays have a real chance at the division, they are only 4 games back of the Orioles, and its time for them to take advantage of this. Blue Jays fans still believe that even though they are limping into the All-Star Break, the playoffs are a real goal and a strong second half can make it happen.
What do the Blue Jays need to turn this around? Comment below and let us know!
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