At the beginning of the season the Jays were clobbering the ball like Ben Grimm, it seemed like they could do no wrong.
For weeks they led the league in runs scored and were hell-bent on trying to give score keepers carpal tunnel syndrome.
Now, with the exception of a Roy Halladay start, they score 6.8 runs a game for the Doc, the Jays are struggling to provide for their pitchers; slipping to seventh in runs scored in the league, behind division rivals Boston who is sixth, New York who is second, and Tampa Bay who leads the league. Which by far, makes Tampa the most offensive team in the league(I'm still bitter over them making it to playoffs).
Meanwhile, the teams ERA has slowly crept up to 4.27. With the Jays only knocking in five runs a game now this makes any game a dicey proposition(sans Dice-K).
While Toronto has been struggling to find its stroke, they have reverted back to the classic Toronto Blue Jays Win/Loss Pattern(TBJW/LP for short). The pattern, for those unaware, is when Toronto is continuously winning two games and losing one, or losing twice and winning once.
Laugh if you must, but Toronto's greatest winning streak this year was four games. It was immediately followed by nine losses. For those of you scoring at home that is 2.25 losses for every win.
TBJW/LP is very real.
It is the cross Blue Jays fans have had to bear these the last few years. Arguably it is better than the Washington Nationals Win/Loss Pattern, who have to sell one of their players souls for a win, but if the Jays want to regain their spot at the top of the AL East they have to be more consistent.
Which brings me to my main point, the bane of Pat Tabler and every Blue Jays fan alike, the double play.
Though the Yankees aren't perfect, they still manage to keep their double plays under one per game. This may be caused by New Yankee Stadium being about as deep as a Joe Maddon pre-game pep talk, but the Jays need to battle through.
Currently, Toronto leads the league in grounding into double plays with 59. Last year Toronto finished with 150, fourth in the league, so there's a precedent here.
At this rate Toronto will have 162 double plays on the year. Or, in layman's terms, that ain't good.
There is nothing more crippling to an offence then a double play. It's a momentum killer and right now the Blue Jays need momentum more than anything.
The problem is that they are trying. Toronto leads the league in fly balls with 1042. Granted, they do have the most at-bats in the major leagues, but with an overall .280 batting average the Jays should be getting back to their clutch ways.
So why haven't they?
I'd be a hypocrite if I started saying what the Jays coaches haven't done or need to do. With numbers like those, the Jays should be winning more games, and having fewer double plays.
It boggles the mind, what do you do?
You do exactly what Cito Gaston has always done: You sit there, you let the players play, and you guide them towards the strategies they should be taking.
Cito has never been big on micromanaging. His style is to plan an overall strategy and then let the players execute it. You see it when he lets a pitcher stay in a little too long to work out of a jam; and you see it when hitters are struggling and he refuses to drop them in the lineup.
All Cito can really do is have the players continue to work through it. He can tell them anything but until the wheels start turning all he can do is prod. Sometimes that means letting players squirm until they understand.
So we wait.
The Jays are too good a team to continue the Toronto Blue Jays Win/Loss Pattern. Though it haunts Toronto like the Babe did Boston, this particular team has the talent to persevere. They don't strike out very often and they draw a fair amount of walks. They hit for great average and they've already stolen more bases than the entire John Gibbons era. Eventually that's going to transition into runs.
To quote Frank Costanza they will rise, "Like a Phoenix from Arizona."
It still won't stop me from pounding my head into the coffee table every time they ground into a double play.