The Toronto Blue Jays’ 2023 season continues to surprise us. As of Wednesday’s loss to the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays have failed to score any runs in their last 18 innings. Toronto is looking to hold onto the second AL Wild Card spot but they have not made it easy for themselves. The Yankees took away two games and spoiled the Jays’ chances of clinching a Wild Card spot sooner rather than later. It is largely the fault of the Jays offense, which has been silent in this home series.
The Jays offense has continued to be inconsistent and hasn’t been able to score runs early or capitalize on hits and runners in scoring position. In the recent series against the Tampa Bay Rays, the bats showed more urgency, and that is how it has been for most of the season. Fans are looking for the Jays to make a deep run in the postseason, but the Jays have made things tight for themselves as only five games remain in the regular season.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 28, 2023
Blue Jays Scoreless for 18 Straight Innings
Where’s the Offense?
There is no margin for error for the Jays at this point in the season. They have not been successful recently with working counts and making opposing pitchers throw more pitches. Plate discipline and walks have also not been present. Evidently, opposing pitchers have been frustrating the Jays lineup. While the lineup has been hitting the ball hard, it just hasn’t been able to sustain a consistent rhythm offensively. We’ve seen sparks and sprinkles of offense come out from the Jays this season. Analysts and insiders projected that the Jays offense was really going to stand out this season. But this largely hasn’t been the case. The offense has appeared occasionally, but then it just seems to disappear. The Jays have also seen a decrease in their home run total this season, especially playing at the Rogers Centre.
While Jays pitchers, like Kevin Gausman, have been consistent and have attempted to keep their team in games, the Jays offense has not been kind to pitchers like Gausman this season. Jose Berrios has also had a great season, improving his ERA from 5.23 to 3.65. It is unfortunate that with the team’s solid starting rotation, they haven’t been as successful this season with driving in runs.
The Blue Jays are capable of better baseball than they are playing, especially against a Yankees team that has been eliminated from the postseason. But they did face a particular challenge on Wednesday in Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole, who is favored to win the Cy Young Award this season. Cole has made it hard for Jays hitters and has been lights out all season. Wednesday was no exception, as he tossed a complete game shutout.
Hitters are Frustrated
Blue Jays offense this season —
Home — Road —
— BlueJays Muse (@BlueJays_Muse) September 27, 2023
Blue Jays players have, without question, shown and expressed frustrations with not being able to score runs. Still, the Jays cannot afford to lose focus and let their frustrations affect their game. Brandon Belt had two hits Wednesday, but the offense was not able to cash him in. Alejandro Kirk threw his helmet in the dugout, taking out his frustration after hitting a deep flyout. Jose Berrios got 10 strikeouts in the game but unfortunately picked up his 12th loss of the season. This has frustration spelled all over it.
The Jays have also had their struggles playing at home this season. Their home run splits away vs. home are significant (103 away, 77 home). The numbers have shown this season that the Jays play much better on the road. They are still in a good position to clinch a spot in the postseason, but they need to make that happen soon and start to win games consistently. If they want to stand out in the postseason, the offense needs to come alive. The Blue Jays failing to score in 18 straight innings was an unpleasant occurrence the last two evenings.
Blue Jays Must Battle
The urgency we’ve seen and the offensive performance from players like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Matt Chapman, and Daulton Varsho needs to be more consistent. We’ve expected more from Varsho, as in 2022, he led the majors in percentage of balls pulled (54.5%) and had 27 home runs. This season he has 18. The Jays also showcased their offense against the Yankees when they played them in New York and won their series last week. Going from that to scoring no runs through 18 innings is puzzling.
If the Jays can get a winning streak going, they will find themselves in the postseason. Losing two games to the Yankees and getting shut out in both games is unfortunate. The Jays need to move on and focus on the next game ahead. Here’s to hoping that the Jays can get some offense going and break this runless streak that they have been on. Getting shut out in back-to-back games isn’t the way the Jays wanted this series to go.
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