After a better month of July for the Toronto Blue Jays (15-11 in July), the Jays bounced back in their worst month to date, finishing with a record of 9-17, their worst month of the season.
This has a been a season of ups and downs for the Jays, with each month alternating between winning and losing records (April – 12-14, May – 21-9, June – 12-15, July – 15-11, August – 9-17). If the pattern were to continue, that means that the Jays will have a winning month of September, make it to the playoffs, and ride off into the sunset as we all expected to happen. Who says that this couldn’t happen?
The Jays are finally getting some pitching support from the minors, something that’s been much needed the whole season. Despite a poor month of August batting, the Jays have still managed to score the fifth most runs in the majors. Everything that could help the Jays spark something is there, so what’s holding them back?
To start, slugger Edwin Encarnacion has been off to a slow start since returning from the DL, his August numbers consisted of a line of .170/.241/.340, 2 home runs and 7 RBI’s, all in 53 at-bats. These are obviously below his usual numbers, and considering his major role in the offence, it does bring some concern about if he can bounce back.
The only time his production was lower this year was in April, when he hit only two home runs with 15 RBI’s the whole month. However, he did bounce back nicely in May, when he hit the most home runs in a single month by a Blue Jay with 16.
As far as pitching goes, it has not been consistent at all for the Jays. The team’s collective ERA is 24th in the MLB, and was 27th in August. The expansion of the rosters won’t only add depth in the offence, but especially in pitching, with prospects like Daniel Norris finally getting a taste of the majors.
Even if they don’t perform well now, they would have gotten their feet wet, and would be better prepared for next season.
So what does this all mean? Do the Jays have chance of making the playoffs? Yes, according to ESPN, the Jays have 2.7% chance (which is higher than the Yankees 2.1%, fun fact). What helps the Jays even more, is that out of the 8 series the Jays play this month, 6 of them are against AL East opponents, 2 of those 6 against the division leading Orioles.
If the Jays can string wins in the month, then a playoff run would seem more and more realistic. The Jays definitely have the talent to win, they’ve shown that in patches here and there throughout the season.
But for the team to actually sustain something throughout the month seems extremely unlikely given all of the circumstances against the team.
At the end of the day, saying whether or not the Jays will have a winning month is like flipping a coin, it really could go either way. But even if the Jays have a winning record, who knows if it will be enough.