The Toronto Blue Jays can’t catch a break these days.
Even when they receive good news, it’s quickly overshadowed by another quiet night at the plate, disastrous performance from the mound, weak play in the field or some combination of all three. The Jays are unable to capitalize on a surprisingly weak American League East this season, and as they continue to spiral out of control, the playoffs once again become the thing of legend in Toronto.
Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion were supposed to provide an immediate boost of offence when they returned to the lineup earlier this week and this is true to some extent – the Jays have scored 16 runs in their last three games after scoring a measly four runs in their three previous games – but just as the offence shows signs of returning to life, the starting rotation has started to show cracks.
Drew Hutchison‘s late season struggles continued last night as he surrendered seven runs (all earned) across seven innings of work, but the real damage came during the first inning when he allowed six runners to cross the plate before finally getting himself out of trouble. That’s two straight loses for the Lakeland, Florida native, who’s been hit for 13 runs across 12.2 innings during this stretch.
Unfortunately, the struggles aren’t limited to Hutchison. Marcus Stroman – another young arm in the starting rotation – has been showing signs of fatigue in his last few starts as well. The Jays have leaned heavily on both pitchers over the course of the season so this isn’t good news. Toronto will have a difficult time replacing them on the mound should it be decided they need some rest.
Here’s where the Jays find another break, but we’ll have to wait and see if they can capitalize on this one. The Jays have an off-day today, giving them a chance to catch their collection breath, before visiting the Milwaukee Brewers for two games. This short road trip will be followed by another day of rest, then the Jays will see 15 straight games against their struggling rivals in the AL East.
A strong run against the Tampa Bay Rays (61-63), the Boston Red Sox (56-67) and the New York Yankees (63-59) could see the Jays (64-61) return to the playoff conversation but with plenty of adversity remaining in their way before the end of the season.
Early June, when the Jays sat comfortably at the top of the AL East, is long gone. The odds of Toronto making the playoffs at this point are remote given their lack of sustained momentum over the past three months. This is the sad reality of the Jays these days, and it’s some of the bad news we’ve been forced to accept as fans.
If anything, we need a rest from the Jays.