Aug 3, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons (5) pulls starting pitcher Marcus Stroman (54) during the fourth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Blue Jays Continue to Falter Down the Stretch

Coming out of the all-star break, it looked like the Toronto Blue Jays were finally on a roll.

The Jays pulled off four straight series victories to open the unofficial second half of the season, including a huge three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. They went an impressive 10-3 during this stretch and there were no signs of the team slowing down anytime soon.

In other words, it looked like May again: the playoffs were only a stone’s throw away.

This was all before the Houston series, however – a series that should’ve been a cakewalk for the Jays if we’re being honest with ourselves. The lowly Houston Astros are 47-68, which is good for second last place in the American League and third last place in all of baseball. If anything, this was the perfect opportunity for the Jays to pad their playoff lead.

Instead, they lost three of four games to the Astros. The host team showed absolutely no mercy, hammering the Jays 22-10 across the entire series. When the dust finally settles on the current season, I think this’ll be the series that signaled the end for the Jays.

Aug 7, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles center fielder Adam Jones (10) celebrates the win with Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) at the end of a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Baltimore Orioles won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

After Houston, the Jays returned home to open a six-game homestand against the Baltimore Orioles and the Detroit Tigers. A series victory over (or especially a sweep of) Baltimore in their three-game set would’ve been enough to reverse the bleeding for Toronto and show they’re still hungry for the playoffs. Unfortunately, the Jays couldn’t get anything going in two of the games and now find themselves trailing the Orioles by five games for the division lead.

They’ve also lost possession of the final Wild Card spot to the Kansas City Royals. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Seattle Mariners and the New York Yankees sit half a game behind the Royals – the same situation as the Jays – but Toronto has played the most games among this group of teams so their fate is really in the hands of the competition now: they need these teams to lose.

As Mike mentioned earlier today, things won’t get any easier for the Jays in the immediate days ahead. They face some tough competition from Detroit and Seattle before visiting the beatable Chicago White Sox at the close of next week. These two series could very well determine the fate of the Jays’ season.

Let’s hope the Jays can break out of their current funk before it no longer matters how low they sink.

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Tags: Toronto Blue Jays

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