In their last nine games, the Toronto Blue Jays have scored 17 runs and conceded 54. They’ve won a single game and lost eight.
This is their worst stretch since the beginning of their 2017 season. At least in that 1-8 run they were more competitive, only being outscored 24-36. It was undoubtedly brutal - especially coming off a playoff run - but they were in games.
The Blue Jays weren’t ‘in’ the game during their 9-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday. In fact, they were down 7-0 and on their third pitcher by the time they registered a hit.
It was their 10th hit and first run in the 23rd inning of a series where the Twins didn’t just sweep them, but walked all over them. The Twins are no joke, but they aren’t as good as the Blue Jays made them look — no one is.
Manager Charlie Montoyo is well aware of that fact. At his postgame press conference, he didn’t so much take questions as provide the following statement:
I’m usually very positive, but we didn’t play good the last three days. I’m not going to sit here and make excuses for this and that because we didn’t play good baseball. My kids know it, I know it, so I’m not going to insult your intelligence by saying ‘we did this’ or ‘we did that’. We did not freakin’ play good baseball the last three days. We got hit. We didn’t hit. So it was not very good. Thank God tomorrow is a day off so here we freaking go. We’re going to keep f—king working hard.
Suffice it to say the baseball being played at Rogers Centre right now is downright ugly. Any optimism arising from the call-up of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has dissipated. When the Blue Jays swept the Athletics after the phenom’s arrival and returned to .500, the notion that the 2019 Blue Jays could be interesting was born. Just over a week later, it’s dead.
“Obviously right now we’re grinding and battling,” outfielder Billy McKinney said of the ugly stretch. “Hopefully we get out of this rut here soon. The talent is there, obviously. Just hasn’t been clicking yet.”
Vladdy is almost certainly going to make his presence known at some point soon, Cavan Biggio is knocking on the door, and other key components of the future may make cameos. It just clearly won’t be enough to drag this team from the mires of inadequacy.
Almost all of the Blue Jays’ fatal flaws were systematically exposed on Wednesday, serving as a clear example of how far they have to go. First was the lineup, which improved on its previous two games’ work by pushing across one run on a Billy McKinney dinger - but managed just one other hit and two walks.
Facing a starter in Kyle Gibson who’s unremarkable in almost every way - including missing bats - they suffered 11 punch outs in six innings, ratcheting up their bloated strikeout rate. Randal Grichuk, the only guy in the starting lineup sure to be around in a couple years, was on the hook for three. When the Twins went up 1-0, they appeared in the driver’s seat. When that lead grew to 3-0, the game felt over.
The Blue Jays’ pitching staff also got shelled as the the Twins scored their nine runs on 18 hits with four home runs. Trent Thornton made the shortest and worst start of his career, going two innings and giving up five earned runs.
“It’s been frustrating because I’ll have a good start then a bad start, then a good start. The consistency hasn’t been there,” he said. “That’s what I want every time out, to go deep in the game and give the team a chance to win. Tonight I definitely didn’t do that.”
Things didn’t get much better from there as Sam Gaviglio’s stretch of improbable dominance was halted, and Elvis Luciano continued to not look like an MLB pitcher - through no fault of his own.
Defence certainly didn’t lose the Blue Jays the game — conceding a parade of round trippers locked in their fate — but it was undoubtedly spotty outside of Luke Maile gunning down Byron Buxton. There were two errors, both of which were ugly lapses of concentration on routine plays.
Often, errors calls are too subjective to be meaningful, but not on this pair - the first from Grichuk:
Then Rowdy Tellez:
The Blue Jays weren’t on base nearly enough to make any blunders there, but the way they’re going it seems like they would have if given the opportunity.
It would be unfair to say Wednesday’s game was reflective of the abilities of the 25 men on the Toronto Blue Jays roster. It was also almost perfectly reflective of how they’re playing right now.
Not only have the Blue Jays been dreadful of late, there’s not a shred of injustice in the results they’ve accumulated. In their recent 1-8 stretch, one win is the absolute ceiling of what they’ve deserved.
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