Over the course of the past few weeks, it’s become pretty clear the Toronto Blue Jays have no real answer among their bats to left-handed pitchers.
It was painful enough watching the Chicago White Sox take three wins from the Jays last week, sending a trio of left-handers to the mound at Rogers Centre, but now the Jays have run into the same situation in Oakland when wins are at a premium.
With the Baltimore Orioles catapulting into first place in the American League East, the Jays simply have no more room for error. Every loss moving forward could potentially push them another game behind Baltimore. The Jays had some cushion in early June to blow when they were 14 games above .500, but those days are long gone.
How bad is it for the Jays?
Three of their regular bats – Adam Lind, Colby Rasmus and Juan Francisco – are borderline useless against left-handers. In limited appearances, Lind is hitting .071. Francisco is slightly better at .074 while Rasmus is hitting a comparatively healthy .167.
This has forced the Jays to lean heavily on call-ups from the Buffalo Bisons whenever the team faces a left-hander. I understand you want the strongest bats in the lineup, but the decision to rely on an inexperienced player over an established player because the “statistics” says it’s the right thing to do bothers me.
Are the Jays really getting anything better out of Darin Mastroianni, Brad Glenn or Anthony Gose before them? Glen, who played in last night’s disaster, is hitting .067 against left-handers – the only type of pitcher he’s faced so far this season.
By mixing in the Bison crew, the Jays have also been forced to shift everyone around defensively. We’ve seen the results of this over the last few days.
Edwin Encarnacion playing in the outfield? Keep him at first base, please.
Toronto has a powerful lineup – one that includes Lind, Rasmus and Francisco. This is the lineup that gives them the best chance to win on a nightly basis and it may actually be the best lineup they can toss out against left-handers notwithstanding what the “statistics” say.