Game 92: Boston at Toronto pregame
So, what has happened to these Blue Jays?
From the cream of the American League crop to flirting with the cellar in baseball’s toughest division, all in a matter of two months.
Seeing as it’s a slow news day here at the Dome — David Dellucci day-to-day after X-rays came back negative on his left foot and Vernon Wells still sick and out of the lineup — it seems appropriate to take some time to compare Toronto’s hot start to its prolonged skid.
Really, it’s a tale of two seasons: Before the nine-game losing streak and after the nine-game losing streak.
Prior to that skid, the Blue Jays were 27-14 and in first place in the East by 3.5 games. They jumped out of the gates with a strong offense (.289/.358/.463 with 1.2 HR/G, 5.7 R/G, 10.3 H/G) and decent pitching (3.85 ERA with 6.9 K/G, 3.1 BB/G).
In the 50 games since then, the Blue Jays have gone 17-33 and now sit in fourth place in the East, 12 games back of the Red Sox. The pitching has had its share of issues — injuries, tired bullpen, inexperience — and it has shown (4.59 ERA, 7.5 K/G, 3.6 BB/G). The offense, with a revolving door in left field, and subpar showings from Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, has slumped to the tune of .255/.318/.403 with 1.0 HR/G, 4.1 R/G, 9.0 H/G.
Has schedule played a role? Early on, it was hard to really know what to make of the Blue Jays’ hot start due to the fact that it primarily played the AL West and Central while running to first place in the East. It looks like there may have been something to that after all.
Consider that in Toronto’s first 41 games — before that nine-game slide at the end of May — the team played only six games against division rivals. In the last 50 games, the Jays have played 23 games against the East (5-18), 18 games against the National League (7-11) and nine against other AL divisions (5-4).
The way things have been going of late, the Blue Jays should simply be aiming to finish this season with a winning record. I guess the thing for Toronto fans to keep in mind is — despite the team’s hot start — the Blue Jays were widely predicted to be a fourth-place team this season.
1. J.D. Drew, RF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Jason Bay, LF
6. Mike Lowell, 3B
7. Rocco Baldelli, CF
8. Jed Lowrie, SS
9. George Kottaras, C
Starter: RHP Brad Penny (6-3, 4.71)
1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, LF
4. Scott Rolen, 3B
5. Lyle Overbay, 1B
6. Alex Rios, CF
7. Kevin Millar, DH
8. Jose Bautista, RF
9. Raul Chavez, C
Starter: LHP Marc Rzepczynski (0-1, 3.00)
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