The Toronto Blue Jays – yes, the same Toronto Blue Jays that have one of the most powerful lineups in all of baseball – are off to a rough start. “Rough” might be too soft of a way to describe it actually, because they just lost the final game of a three-game series against the Baltimore Orioles by the score of 11-4.
It just doesn’t make any sense. The Toronto Blue Jays currently sit in the cellar of the American League East with a record of 2-10.
They defeated the Orioles on Saturday by a score of 2-1, claiming their second win of the season and first since since April 6, when they won 5-2 over the Tampa Bay Rays behind the strong pitching of Marcus Stroman.
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This team is supposed to score runs. It’s what they’ve done the past few seasons and the loss of Edwin Encarnacion, who signed with the Cleveland Indians during the offseason, doesn’t have anything to do with it. He was replaced by slugger Kendrys Morales.
To make things worse, Donaldson has been put on the 10-day disabled list with a calf injury. It is the first disabled list stint of his career and he is not going to rush to come back, meaning he’s out indefinitely at least as far as the Blue Jays are concerned.
And Donaldson was tied for having the most home runs on the team with two. The entire Blue Jays team of sluggers have hit just six long balls this season.
But is it really time to panic? There are 162 regular season games and the Blue Jays are just 10 games in.
It’s the worst start that President and CEO of the team Mark Shapiro has seen in his 25 years working in the game, but even he doesn’t think it’s time to panic despite how miserable it is for both him and the Toronto fans to watch.
“Not everything is wrong,” Shapiro told Shi Davidi of SportsNet Canada. “We’re pitching well, dominant at times, there are a lot of good things going on both in the rotation and in our bullpen and we’re playing good defence. We’re not looking at overhauling the entire team – it’s getting the offence going. … If we’re patient, and we really don’t have any choice but right now, I feel like we’ll be rewarded.”
Shapiro’s statements really do ring true. A team with that much offensive talent can’t struggle like this for the entire season. Statistically, something of that nature is highly unlikely to occur.
If things continue on this route they make look to trade for another hitter or two, but not yet. It’s only the beginning of a long regular season.
And very often at times when a team is struggling the players put the weight of it all on their individual shoulders.
They step up to the plate and try too hard. When you are too much in your own head and trying too hard to hit the ball, it’s unlikely that you will actually hit it.
Calming down and trying to work collectively and cohesively as a team to work the pitchers and get pitches to hit is the only way to correct the situation, according to Shapiro.
It is a strategy that has worked for other struggling clubs in the past and should work for Toronto considering the names in their lineup.
“When it goes collectively as badly as it does right now with our offence, a lot of what we’re dealing with is we need to get to a point where guys stop trying to do too much and stop trying to take responsibility for it individually. It’s going to have to be a collective approach where as a team we start having better at-bats, getting on-base and finding ways to score,” said Shapiro after Friday night’s loss to Baltimore.
It’s virtually impossible for a team with a lineup this stacked to be this terrible offensively for 162 games. Eventually they will have to pull it together, even without the 2015 AL MVP Donaldson to lead the way.
While it seems like it is time to panic, it’s not. While it seems like a time to make some roster moves, it’s not, at least not just yet.
The Blue Jays’ fans need to calm down and listen to Shapiro, as do the Blue Jays players.
Things in baseball very often seem to even out into the way they should be, meaning that once the Blue Jays start hitting they probably won’t be able to be stopped.