So where do the Blue Jays go from here? (NOTE: This analysis does not include last night's game).
After a season-saving 11 game win streak they are just 5-10 in their last 15 games.
What can they do to regain that 11-game magic and wear off such a dismal stretch?
The Blue Jays starting pitching was one of the keys to the 11-game win streak and one of the keys to the 5-10 record since.
Through the first 13 games since the streak ended, the Blue Jays starters have had an ERA of 5.79—you can't win games with numbers like that.
To make matters worse, if you take out Dickey's shutout from that equation, the Blue Jays starters have an ERA of 6.58. Since I took out the best start of the group, let me take out the worst start to make it fair. If you take out Wang's worst start then the ERA would still be over 5.00 during this span.
Any way you look at it, this is unacceptable from a playoff calibre team, unless you are scoring an obscene amount of runs.
During the losing streak, the Blue Jays have scored 2 or fewer runs in 5 of the first 13 games. That makes it quite difficult to gain a W and puts a lot of pressure on your starters.
During the 11-win streak, they scored two or fewer only once in a 2-0 victory against the Rockies.
It was the consistency that allowed for that 11-game win streak to happen. They need to continue to keep pace in the AL East by scoring runs.
Clearly, it has not only been the pitching that has recently been the issue.
Win the Close Games
Winning close games is crucial to getting into the playoffs—just ask Manager of the Year runner-up Buck Showalter who led the Orioles to a ridiculous record in one-run games last season.
Since May 27th, the Blue Jays have had eight one-run games. They have only won two of them. They do not fare well in close games which is really odd considering they have one of the strongest bullpens in the league.
They seem to either blow out the opposition—all of their wins have been by 4 runs or more since June 23rd, save a three-run win on the 26th—and lose everything else. That is over two weeks without winning one close game while losing five games by less than four runs during that stretch.
You can say they haven't got the bounces recently, but they need to do something to maximize their late-game potential and clutch hitting.
Update: Last night was an excellent jolt in the right direction with the team coming from behind to win a game with clutch hitting late.
The Blue Jays finish the first half of the season with a series at Cleveland then at Baltimore. I believe they need to win both series to feel as if they are in a good spot come the All-Star break (two games over .500) where hopefully four Blue Jays will be playing.
They are currently 1-1 this week, they will need to win this afternoon and take 2-1 from the O's.
Thank you for reading and go vote for Steve Delabar!