Surely this it.
Surely this team can’t sink any lower.
A lot of people (myself included) truly believed that Sunday’s brawl in Texas would galvanize this team. Nothing brings a group together like a good old fashioned fight. We all thought (hoped) that such a bonding experience would wake the boys up from their early season doldrums and get them rolling back towards the top of the AL East.
Sadly that hasn’t happened.
Not even close.
The Jays welcomed Tampa Bay to Toronto Monday night for a three game series, and, to be blunt, it has not gone well.
Coming into the series, the Rays had a losing record (16-19), they couldn’t score (only 128 runs, 3.65 per game), and they couldn’t hit (.221 average, dead last in the AL). But they seemingly love the crisp Canadian air. The Rays suddenly look nothing like their weak hitting selves. In two games they have scored 25 runs and hit .395 as a team (34 for 86). And they aren’t just hitting cheap singles either. Tampa has crushed Blue Jay pitching for 5 home runs, 9 doubles, and 1 triple.
More worrisome is who it was that Tampa Bay rocked – Happ and Stroman, Toronto’s two most consistent pitchers to date.
Hopefully this is just a one-off, a few bad games in the midst of an emotionally draining stretch for the team. Not only was there the fight with Texas, but the Jays are in the middle of a bizarre stretch on their schedule. After a 7-game homestand to start May, they traveled to San Francisco for 3, to Texas for 3, back to Toronto to 3, and then will follow this up by heading to Minnesota for 4 and New York for 3. Not an easy travel stretch.
The biggest concern that many fans now have is what this all means to the job security of John Gibbons. He is (for the most part) well liked by fans, and it certainly isn’t his fault that the hitters aren’t hitting. But there are three things working against him: 1) managers always take the fall for underperforming teams; 2)he is, and will always be seen as, Anthopoulos’s guy; 3)
Cleveland Indians Toronto GM Ross Atkins and President Mark Shapiro already have an in-house replacement that they hired: Eric Wedge.
Of course, the team can make all of this speculation and worry go away by stringing some wins together. They can lessen the pressure (real or not) on their skipper by scoring some runs.
They certainly haven’t looked good the past few days, but that’s the good thing about hitting rock bottom:
You can’t get any lower.