Three Reasons the Toronto Blue Jays Have Been Disappointing in 2023
The Blue Jays are 52 games into their season (27-25 record), they’re in last place in the American East (after many prognosticators had them winning the World Series), 10.5 games out of first place and 2.5 games out of the wild card race.
MLB betting sites don't think too highly of them right now. Let's examine why.
Tough Stretch Puts Jays in Hole
The noose is getting tighter. They're coming off a 2-9 stretch against fellow Al East teams New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, and the Rays. After that, there was a players-only meeting.
Alek Manoah is 1-5 on the season, only going three innings in his start Thursday. He and pitching coach Pete Walker had an intense conversation after Manoah got pulled. Fellow starting pitcher Yusei Kikuchi, while 5-2, is starting to fray, with a 4.56 ERA.
The sports betting odds for the Jays to win the division have been tumbling all week. On Tuesday, BetMGM had them at 7.0 to win the Al East, today they’re at 11.0.
Toronto won the first game of a three-game series against Minnesota Friday and has a real opportunity to at least turn the losing streak around this weekend, with, thankfully, that brutal stretch against their AL East rivals in the rear view.
That doesn’t address the hole the Jays have dug for themselves in terms of challenging for the division and a wild card spot this season. The three AL wild card leaders are the Orioles, Yankees and Houston Astros.
There are plenty of reasons people can point to for the Jays being in their current predicament.
Manoah has struggled to find a rhythm and has struggled with his command. He’s battled through most of his outings. It’s apparently nothing physical.
But there was a lot of hope pegged on that Jays’ starting rotation going into this season and Manoah was a keg cog there. The Opening Day starter is 1-5, with a 5.53 ERA, and 46 Ks.
Berrios and Kikuchi have been solid so far, so that’s provided Manoah some cover, but he needs to pull it together soon if they’re going to make a post-season run.
Jays fans are stressed every time they read the sports section these days and see what Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (.317, 8 HRs, 27 RBIs) and Gabriel Moreno (.304, 2 HR, 19 RBIs) are doing in Arizona with the Diamondbacks. Daulton Varsho came over the Jays in that off-season trade with Arizona, with the Jays putting their faith in Kirk at the catcher position. Kirk was an all-star last year, so we get the argument.
But he got a late start to his season and has been sloppy behind the plate with his defence. His hitting has only been so-so - .248, 2 HRs, 12 RBIs.
With an injury to Danny Janssen, that puts the spotlight even more on Kirk at the catcher position.
Lack of Timely Hitting
The Jays have been playing ugly, making a lot of mistakes in the field, but the bigger factor has been their lowly hitting numbers with RISP. This is strange because the team leads the league in hits – 474. They’re third in MLB team batting average at .265.
But you wouldn’t assume that watching the team so far this season, with the number of players they are leaving on base. They’re 11th in MLB RBIs – 229, but are 17th in MLB in RISP, according to Baseball Reference.
The Jays are leaking oil big time now.
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