2023-05-23 · 3 min read · MLB/Baseball
Jays' Bo Bichette and Rays’ Pete Fairbanks

Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports | Mark Blinch/Getty Images

When Bo Bichette tapped a grounder back to Rays’ closer Pete Fairbanks, down by two in the ninth inning with two out, a collective groan could be heard throughout the city of Toronto. The Jays’ fifth loss in a row, now only two games above .500. Two.
Tropicana Field has been the bane of Toronto’s existence for as long as anyone can remember - only now, it shouldn’t be. A Blue Jays team that’s in its third straight year of allegedly-competitive baseball, and yet Tampa Bay remains to be nearly impossible to win in. Though, in fairness to Toronto, winning is a hard feat for them to accomplish anywhere right now.
Over the span of the last seven games, Toronto’s averaged 3.25 runs a game. Over the current five-game losing streak, even less than that - 3.20. The once-thought-to-be-mighty offensive juggernaut has seemingly fallen apart at the seams, an issue that cannot be fixed overnight. An inability to score with runners in scoring position, and more specifically with less than two outs, is a recipe for disaster. And a one-way ticket to the bottom of the AL East, where the Blue Jays currently sit.
While the hitting is, quite evidently, the problem, focusing solely on the lineup’s discouraging performance day-after-day lets management off the hook far too easily. From forgetting how many mound visits have occurred to the ridiculous fact that Cavan Biggio is still on a Major League roster to the misuse of Jordan Romano - John Schneider & co. continue to put this team in positions to fail, not to win. If proof is needed of the idea that a manager can’t win a game on his own but he sure as heck can lose one, well, take a look at the 2023 Toronto Blue Jays. It’s equally as irresponsible to blame Management for all of the team’s struggles as it is to say it’s not their fault whatsoever. Right now, nothing is working. Including John Schneider.
At some point, one would think that decisions will have to be made. Biggio, who we’ve all harped on for months-if-not-years now, is hitting .127. Jansen’s at .195. Varsho, who hit a homer in Toronto’s series’ opener versus Tampa, is hitting just .207. None of this would be remotely as frustrating if, day after day, news wasn’t coming out about Lourdes Gurriel Jr. extending his hit streak to fifteen or Gabriel Moreno slashing .311/.339/.387. Heck, when Teoscar Hernandez made his return and smacked a homer in his return to Toronto who was shocked? And then Kevin Pillar came back with Atlanta and did the same thing. Anecdotes like these are frustrating, immensely so, but could easily be forgotten if the hundreds of millions of dollars on Toronto’s payroll worth of players could…hit a ball - ideally when runners are on base.
That is, when said runners aren’t getting doubled off (cough cough, Cavan Biggio).
To add to the stress, the road ahead doesn’t get any easier. After Tampa Bay, the Blue Jays will face, in order; Minnesota, Milwaukee, the Mets, Houston, Minnesota again, Baltimore, and Texas. Minnesota, Texas, and Milwaukee both lead their respective divisions, Houston is one game behind Texas, and Baltimore currently sits second in the AL East. The New York Mets, struggling as they may be, also sit second in the NL East.
There is a very real possibility that by the midway point of June, Toronto could be right in the middle of an eighteen-wheeler disaster the likes of which only Maple Leafs fans are accustomed to.
Jose Berrios takes the ball in Game 2 of the four-game series versus Tampa, with talented rookie Taj Bradley opposing.
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By: Gus Cousins


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