When the Toronto Blue Jays acquired Troy Tulowitzki and David Price, they effectively thrust their name into the American League conversation. As they reeled off a 22-6 record in the month of August, they became favorites.

As they continue to remain red hot on the back of a four game winning streak and a three game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays, resulting in a four game cushion on top of the AL East, the hype and love of the Jays keeps rising.

It’s just too bad it won’t end that well.

The Blue Jays made a point at the trade deadline to address their needs. They had an overpaid, injury-prone shortstop in Jose Reyes who was nowhere near the All-Star form he once dazzled with in New York. With a price tag of $22 million in 2015, and still owed $44 million over the next two years of his contract, Toronto dumped the “what was” shortstop for the “˜what is” in Troy Tulowitzki.

The Blue Jays continued their fire sale when they moved Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd, and Jairo Labourt for David Price. Finally, with Price at the top of the rotation, the Blue Jays appeared to have the ace they needed to make a deep run in the AL.

Price has lived up to the billing, going 9-1 with a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts. Tulowitzki has been less dazzling, hitting just .232 since the trade with five home runs and 17 RBIs. Maybe that whole thin air in Colorado€™ thing wasn’t wrong.

Josh Donaldson is an MVP candidate, but on a roster in which no other player with at least 400 at-bats is hitting over .280, there’s reason for concern. The Blue Jays have been mashing teams lately, having scored less three runs or less just four times in the entire month of September, while scoring four runs or fewer just eight times. But that’s the reason for concern.

Baseball games in August and September carry, for the most part, very little weight. A non-divisional loss on August 13th won’t have much effect on the divisional race. When mid-September rolls around, the games take on a little more meaning, but no regular season game will ever mimic the intensity and must-win mindset that comes in the postseason.

As the calendar turns to October, the stress and intensity rises, and with it will come games in which the high octane offense that Toronto possesses can’t dominate. Since 2000, just one team, the 2009 New York Yankees, have led the league in home runs and gone on to win the World Series. The reason? Runs are at a premium in the postseason. No longer can you run through teams like the Rays, Braves, and Red Sox, teams that have struggled mightily on the mound. The Blue Jays will have to deal with rotations like the Royals and Astros, strong starting fives and dominant bullpens.

Since the trade deadline, Toronto has won just eight games where they scored four or fewer runs (8-12), two of which have come in the last week, while they have won just four games in match-ups where they’ve scored three or fewer runs (4-8). This is not a baseball team that is built for low-scoring baseball games. They need to score often to win ball games, and in the postseason, high scoring baseball games are about as likely as me getting a date with Ariana Grande. There’s no reason it can’t happen, it just won’t.

Toronto may be able to survive in an American League that currently lacks, outside of the Houston Astros, a team with a truly lights out rotation, but if they do manage to make it through to the World Series, they’ll face the Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers, Mets, or Cubs, the top five teams in the major leagues in team ERA.

Toronto is just 14-27 in one-run ball games, games they’ll experience plenty of come October. Right now the long balls will fly and the runs will cross the plate at an alarming rate, but when the temperature drops, so too will the run production. And as the runs begin to drift away, the Blue Jays chances go with it.

But hey, I guess as long as I’ve got a shot with Ariana Grande!

10 Responses

  1. phenz

    So you mean they will be facing pitchers top flight pitchers like Chris Archer every night of the playoffs…oh wait, they put 9 runs up on him. They can still dominate top pitchers. It’s such a grind through their lineup. Batting average is way over rated. On base percentage is much more important…and guess who is way at the top…yep the Jays.

    You also keep touting the 1 run game like it is gospel in the playoffs, but there are two issues. One, 1 run game wins are a crap shoot, and mostly attributed to luck, so your regular season record in 1 run games is moot. 2nd, of 32 total games in last years MLB playoffs, only 15 were 1 run games and three of them were slugfests, so you have 12 moderately low scoring one run games out of 32…

    You also think no one scores more than 4 runs a game, but 19 of the games were won by teams scoring 4 runs or more, 11 of which scored more than 6 runs.

    Do some research instead of spouting platitudes. Better keep trying with Ariana Grande, better chance than writing a decent article.

    Reply
    • Steve6f8eh

      One other thing; the 5 top era’s mentioned in the National League are not surprising; they don’t have to face heavy hitting DH’s very often, so of course their era’s are lower.

      Reply
  2. Huh?

    Agree with phenz. This reads more like its coming from someone looking to find fault with the Jays (the best team in baseball since the allstar break) instead of providing unbiased, well researched journalism.
    First, not sure exactly what your comment about the Tulo acquisition is supposed to mean. They didn’t get him for his offense (and players moving to the AL from the NL often suffer a temporary power shortage) – they got him for defense to replace an aging Reyes. Since then he’s been a human highlight reel turning spectacular, and often game saving plays almost every day. And, the Jays have lost only a handful of games with him in the lineup. I’d say job well done Tulo and AA.
    Second, I think you need to look up the definition of “firesale”. Trading prospects for bona fide staff aces does not constitute a “firesale”. Its the Tigers who would be accused of that dealing an expensive pitcher at the deadline for future prospects.
    Third, you talk about the intensity of October games and imply that the Jays aren’t capable of sustaining their offense. Yet, they have playoff experienced guys like Tulo, Donaldson, Buerhle, Price, Martin and several others who understand what its like to be in the post season. You also claim the Jays have only one guy hitting above .300 (with over 400 PA’s) which is not true. Revere qualifies for that status as well. Also, if you consider the stats after the allstar break you could probably throw Edwin in there as well given that he was fighting injuries throughout the first half. Colabello is pretty close too with 310 PA’s and over .300 BA. Also, your claim about high run scoring games in the post season being non existent compared to the regular season is not supported by facts. If you take a look at the last 20 years or so I believe there’s a drop of only 1-2 runs per game in post season play. Perhaps you shouldn’t give up on Ariana Grande just yet.
    More importantly, your entire premise is based solely on the Jays offense it seems. The fact is that they have one of the best and perhaps THE best defensive core in the league. And with the addition of Price and Stroman they have two dominating starters to which they can add Dickey (fantastic since the break) and probably Estrada who’s having a career year. That’s backed up by a much improved pen.
    I don’t know how far the Jays will go in the postseason but I’m betting its deeper than you seem to think.

    Reply
    • Brian

      What other team in the league has 3 30hr 100rbi guys (2 of which are at 40hrs and the third is going to be close!) Oh yeah, they have the top starting pitcher in the league as well as there #1 guy from last year back from what is for most a season ending injury. And , BTW , jhe has been lights out in his three games back with a sub 2.00era…

      Yep, tied for #1 overall in the AL but you’re right… they font have a chance.

      Reply
  3. Nick Robichaud

    Overly negative view point on the Jays. Sure they will be facing great teams in the playoffs with good pitching, but have you forgotten that the Blue Jays also have good pitching..scratch that.. they have great pitching! leading the AL in ERA post all star break. How about a 1, 2 punch of Price and Stroman.. Or their deep bullpen. Jays match up pretty good against any other team pitching wise.. and NO other team can match up with the Blue Jays offense, especially if Tulo comes back, this team will crush mediocre pitching and whoever is facing them better have their A game.

    Overall i find your article a downer in a time where fan support for the Blue Jays are extremely high and when the Jays probably have the best team in baseball you felt compelled to title your negative article with” The End is Inevitable for the Toronto Blue Jays” You see the glass half empty kind of guy arent you? The end for the Blue Jays is inevitable.. it will end when they win the world series.

    Reply
  4. Hawthorne Timms

    Silliness.

    Check out Jay’s overall ERA from August 1st. The Jays are doing as well or better than any of your friends from the NL.

    Since the All Star game? Jay’s ERA is 3.21, right behind St Louis who is 3.17. Yah – that Blue Jay team is #2 OVERALL in the MLB for ERA since the AllStar break.
    Ahead of your Cubs (3.71)
    Ahead of your Pirates (3.66)
    Before the trade deadline the Jay’s ERA was 4.18 – so, the Jays saw needs and fixed them.

    The NL ERA is usually always lower than AL teams, thanks to the non-DH structure, so you’re comparing apples to oranges in any event.

    I think you should look at the Jays post-trade only when compiling your stats about one-run games too- 14-27, yah, but the majority of that mess occurred prior to the trade deadline. Even accounting for the first three-four months, the Jays have successfully punished the next closest teams in the AL, the Yankees (by a mile) and KC Royals (4-3 margin), btw.

    Please try to quote sample sizes bigger than twelve or twenty – for the kind of analysis you are trying to do (Proportional analysis) a sample size of 12 or 20 is absolutely useless.

    Reply
  5. Hawthorne Timms

    You also totally screw up your analysis of play-off games. I think you pulled those stats about one-run games in the playoffs out of thin air.
    Post-season scoring averages out to about 80-85% of the regular season scoring (. So, you can expect a drop, but it ain’t huge. Over the last six years it has been about 8.5 runs per game. So, the post-season, you are looking at 7.3. That’s average, however, meaning you are going to get some way above and some below. Per team, you are looking at .6 run drop in production in the post-season.
    I think the Jays, considering their power and their refined pitching rotation, will do well regardless of your thoughts.

    Reply
  6. Gary73

    You might very well be right, but a couple of things to keep in mind: first, national league era’s are generally lower due to the lack of a DH; and second, the Jays can pitch too, in fact since the all star break their ERA is the best in the AL. Three of their starters- Price, Dickey, and Estrada- have ERAS under 3 since the break and Stroman is under 2 in 4 starts. I’ll admit to being concerned about their inexperienced bullpen; Osuma has been lights out but hitters are starting to jump on his fastball, and Brett Cecil’s curve might be the only consistent “out” pitch” in the pen. Should be interesting.

    Reply
  7. 66pugs99

    What an insanely stupid article and totally out of context. The Blue Jays are 6-2 in one run and extra inning games since the Tulowitzki trade, and have been winning most of the close late inning games in the last month. This is just a troll article written by an idiot.

    Reply

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