The Runner Sports

Blue Jays Have To Stop Living And Dying By The Long Ball

To say things haven’t gone as planned for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017 would be an understatement. Coming off of back-to-back ALCS appearances, the Jays are last in the American League East with a 28-30 record. Certainly not what this team was hoping for.

Most of this team’s struggles can be attributed to the inconsistent bats, as the Jays rank just 16th in the majors in runs for. Their team batting average of .245 also ranks just 21st in the majors, and that simply isn’t good enough for a team vying to make the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

Yet, only six teams in baseball have hit more homers than Toronto (79). Justin Smoak (15), Kendrys Morales (11), and Jose Bautista (10) have had no problem hitting dingers. So how are the Jays the worst team in their division with all of these power bats?

Because relying on the home run over-and-over again is a recipe for disaster. Toronto has stranded its last 32 runners in scoring position, and it’s contributed to a frustrating stretch against the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics.

No Blue Jays player is batting .300, and only Ezequiel Carrera (.291 in 151 at-bats) is somewhat close to it. Considering Carrera has never been a regular starter, it’s easy to believe his batting average will drop significantly at some point.

Only four teams have a worse batting average with runners in scoring position than the Blue Jays (.221). This simply has to change if Toronto is going to find a way to make another push for the playoffs. Following this team’s 2016 ALCS loss to the Cleveland Indians, manager John Gibbons admitted that Toronto needed “more balance” and speed in the lineup. They didn’t do much in the offseason to address that.

So unless general manager Ross Atkins is on the phone and looking for help in the trade route, the Blue Jays players have to figure out this problem on their own. If the team is batting .245, then that essentially means one in four RISP should be coming home. Not zero out of 32.

If they don’t start cashing home those runners on base, then the Blue Jays won’t be celebrating another year in the playoffs.

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Alex Hoegler

I'm a graduate of the journalism program at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C.

I've been an avid sports fan since I was seven years of age. A lifelong follower of the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Blue Jays, my passion is to deliver news through writings while building bridges with other sports fans.
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