The Blue Jays’ Run Differential Could Be in Trouble

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The Blue Jays run differential could be trouble. The key words being ‘could be.’ Baseball is a thrilling game because of how teams find different ways to win every day. The Toronto Blue Jays have been doing just that. The negative run differential is a glaring difference that separates the Blue Jays from the other top teams so far this season. After yesterday’s double-header, the run differential is at -9. Fans have expressed their concern over this issue. Could the Blue Jays run differential be the trouble it is being made out to be?

Blue Jays Run Differential

Let’s be honest, the Blue Jays run differential was at the bottom of the list of worries when the season started. With a lineup as powerful as this one, it seemed almost impossible they would let other teams score more than them. However, a month into the season this has surprisingly become a big problem.

There is quite a difference between home and away in this category for the Blue Jays. At home, the Blue Jay’s run differential trouble is at -11, while away it is +2. This is interesting since Rogers Centre is described as a hitter’s park. This early in the season these numbers will fluctuate quite a bit, but it is still interesting to take note of the difference.

The Blue Jays are in the top 5 worst for runners in scoring position this season. At an average of 3.38 runners a game, this is significant. It is easy enough to say ‘well just hit when it counts.’ However, this needs to be a primary focus of both the hitting coach and the players to take notice of.

Since May 1, Toronto has played in four 1 run games. Granted they went 2-2, but playing close seems to be a trend between the Blue Jays and their opponents. For instance, 3.38 runners on average being left on puts this into perspective. Win or lose, 3.38 alone can swing the outcomes drastically. Luckily, the close games worked out in their favor twice. However, poor performance in a statistical category like run differential becomes glaringly obvious in a loss.

The 2021 Mariners Could Ease the Trouble 

The 2021 Seattle Mariners could be an example that could ease the concern of the trouble of run differential. Blue Jays fans probably need no reminding how close the Mariners were to them in the hunt for a playoff spot last year. They finished the season with a -51 run differential. Yet they were still in it. They relied on their pitching when their hitting did not do enough. That is not typical, though. And in the end, the Mariners needed everything, firing on all cylinders to secure their spot. And they did not have it. The run differential was talked about heavily. There were many missed win opportunities after dominant pitching performances but an inability to score with runners in scoring position. Although this could be a source of solace right now for the Blue Jays, it is also a reminder of how important it is to not let the run differential slip away. 

It Is Only Trouble if it Lasts

In the end, there is a reason baseball has a pitching and hitting component. A team needs both to be working to consistently win. Although the 2021 Mariners are an example of an epic feat when it comes to run differential, the Blue Jays cannot rely on that same luck. There is no reason a team as talented as this one should not be beating other lineups. The bats need to get going. They need to get going with runners in scoring position. Without that focus, the Blue Jays run differential will unfortunately get worse. Also, the wins will start to noticeably suffer more than they are now. Luckily, baseball is a game of phases. The bats got cold and came alive again. Once that happens, the run differential should fix itself in no. Let us just hope that time is soon.

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