Blue Jays reasons for hope, reasons for concern

The Blue Jays have given Toronto fans a rollercoaster of a season, with the team looking like World Series contenders one night, and missing the playoffs the next. Julia Kreuz discusses where the Jays need to improve if they are to make a much anticipated postseason run.

Video Transcript


JULIA KREUZ: Another season, another roller coaster of emotions for Blue Jays fans. One day, the bats are hot and the team is going on winning streaks. And then the next, either the rotation is faltering or the bullpen is giving a game away. There are reasons for hope and for concern with this team. Now it's time to take a look at a couple on each side as we head into the final stretch of the regular season.

We'll start with the reasons for concern because that's just my nature I guess. The top of the American League seems like it's a hydra. You cut off one head and then three more grow back. I don't think anyone expected the Red Sox to be at the bottom of the division or fall out of playoff contention. And then, again, you have teams like the Orioles that are resurging as well as the Guardians, the Twins, the Mariners. And you can never count out the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Blue Jays' lives are not easy when it comes to making the postseason. They are in control of the American League Wild Card race right now. And it seems like that will remain the case. But they do need to find some consistency in order to secure that spot. Reason for concern number two is the pitching instability. We have seen elite performances from the top of the Blue Jays rotation, namely with Kevin Gausman and Alek Manoah. But the pressure has been very much on them to deliver every single time because there isn't much consistency to be found outside of that.

Yes, Ross Stripling has been solid. But other than that, Jose Berrios is still struggling to maintain himself at the level that he had been in years past. And Yusei Kikuchi is either striking guys out or giving up home runs it seems like. And that's just not what the Blue Jays need from their number four, number five starter. The same can be said for the bullpen.

Yes, this is a better group than it was prior to the trade deadline, especially with the addition of Anthony Bass, who has come as advertised and has been good for the Blue Jays. But there's still a lot of question marks, especially when it comes to swing and miss stuff and the flame throwing ability of the Blue Jays bullpen. And what that does, again, is put a lot of pressure on guys like Gossman, Manoah, Bass Jordan Romano, and so on.

Now on to the good stuff. There are no more cold bats in this Blue Jays lineup. Sure, there are exceptions night over night. But overall, the Blue Jays are finally realizing the offensive potential that everyone knew or expected them to have at the beginning of the season. You have guys like Lourdes Gurriel Junior taking over the leadoff spot in George Springer's absence and just doing a tremendous job with that. You also have guys like Matt Chapman at number six or number seven in the lineup racking up the home runs and showing off the power.

Obviously, Vlad Guerrero Junior is being Vlady. He just went on an amazing hit streak, one of the largest in the Majors this year. And that is exactly what the Blue Jays need from every single guy in that lineup. Now, this makes the Blue Jays a very scary team to face because it is true that their batters can change the outcome or the direction of a game at any given point.

It is true what they say. Just get in and you have a chance. It's very clear that the Blue Jays have yet to align at the right time. There is greatness in every single individual part. And the Blue Jays are still trying to click as a whole. The end of September and through October would be a good time to have that happen when you look at the potential of this offensive lineup and what they're capable of in terms of power and swinging games, the elite level of pitching at the top of that rotation, the guys that the Blue Jays went and got in the bullpen to make this a more well rounded group, Jordan Romano being one of the best closers in baseball.

All the individual pieces are there. And it is a reason for hope that the Blue Jays are still looking to click at the right time or all at once. So just get in because you do have a chance to have it all align in October and make a deep postseason run.