The Toronto Blue Jays are 3.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles for top spot in the American League East. While that’s not an insurmountable gap by any means, Toronto would’ve been in a much better position if it had taken care of business and won more of its games against weaker opponents.
Throughout this season, the Blue Jays have often played to the level of their competition. While this means the team has usually played well against bona fide contenders like the Detroit Tigers, it also means Toronto has struggled when facing teams it should be beating.
The biggest example of this came on the Blue Jays’ latest road trip, when they won two of three games at Yankee Stadium, swept the Boston Red Sox and then ended up losing three of four games against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park.
Yes, these are the same Astros that are in fourth place in the AL West and 18 games under .500. Houston has the worst team batting average in the entire AL, yet it was still able to outscore the Blue Jays 22-9 in these past four games.
Toronto’s offense—ranked third in the AL in runs scored—was shut down by an Astros pitching staff that has a 4.38 team ERA.
Like mentioned above, this is hardly the first time this season that the Blue Jays have failed to take advantage of playing against mediocre opponents. Toronto has already lost a series against teams like the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds and Minnesota Twins this year. All of these clubs are currently either under .500 or three games or less over .500.
With just 49 games left in the regular season, the Blue Jays need to start doing a better job of taking care of business against weaker competition.
Toronto will play nine more games this month against teams currently under .500. Winning most of those games is absolutely crucial at this point if the Blue Jays are serious about contending.
Come September, missed opportunities earlier in the season will come back to haunt Toronto if the team finds itself just a few games out of a playoff spot.
*All stats are from MLB.com