Join Jays From the Couch in reviewing the month that was July and predicting how the Blue Jays will fair in August
July has come and gone, and although we made a lot of noise, it was to no effect. Not only did the club fall in the standings, they helped the teams in front of them excel towards a playoff spot as so many “sellers” this time of year do. The Blue Jays came into the month with merely a slim chance of making it through to the playoffs anyway, but with that slim chance, they would have had to skate through the month and then get Marco Estrada, Donaldson, and Osuna back and have a strong August and September to give the Wildcard spot a thought.
Well, July has come and gone along with Roberto Osuna, Josh Donaldson is no closer to coming back and Marco Estrada got shelled in his first outing back against the Athletics. Speaking of gone, the Blue Jays said goodbye to Steve Pearce, John Axford, Seung Hwan Oh, JA Happ and Aaron Loup. So, to put it simply…the bright spots from this season on the pitching staff have left the stadium. In return, Toronto got a handful of good prospects, Ken Giles from Houston and Chris Drury from the Yankees. These moves, although not coming until the end of July did have a direct effect on how this team finished July. The pitching staff has been fleeced of experience and talent and as I predicted before the onset of July where I mentioned we did not have a chance to gain much ground and in the end gave a generous prediction of a 12-12 record. But don’t forget the quote I also made last month regarding our chances, “I don’t see us moving much this month I am sorry to say, possibly only winning 8 games this month…”
I was not far off on either account but only winning 9 games was not on my wish list by any means. Teams like the Athletics, Red Sox and Dodgers continue to build on their great seasons, where teams like us and the Orioles just succumb to the beatings that stronger teams were more than willing to dish out. Sadly, heading into August the Blue Jays were even looking at starting John Axford in Seattle but now have to look at another alternative. Marcus Stroman was impressive really, posting a 3-1 record and setting the tone along with some excitement to a team that seems to have lost their vision.
But have they?
They don’t seem like a team that has lost their vision in terms of frustration setting in and things getting chippy. As a fan, it appears that the desire just doesn’t seem to be there. It is like the players have all been told what the plan was for the remainder of the season and to just do what they can to get through it. There was a lot of smiles in the first couple games in Oakland and the players seemed to be having fun…no different than if they had finished with a July record 6 games over .500.
Maybe the Jays need a few emotional characters on the team like Ken Giles. Jose Bautista is gone, JD is injured and the firecracker Kevin Pillar has been injured. Those are three emotional trains that everyone seemed to be able to hitch a ride on. Sure, Toronto can still turn to Solarte but to feed off him alone, especially when he is struggling…isn’t realistic.
But can we expect more the same in August?
At this point, I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there is a good chance that this team could have gone 0-8 to start the month against Oakland (1), Seattle (4), and Boston (3) if not for the heroics of Toronto’s rookie starter Ryan Borucki on Friday. Toronto will take on a pair of ‘sellers’ in the Rays, which Toronto has just one win against this season and the Royals for 4. Toronto will stop in for a 3 game set against the Yankees for 3 before heading home to close out the month against Baltimore and Philidelphia.
So where does that leave this team?
Looking at this month’s opposition, the Blue Jays have favorable matchups against Baltimore and Kansas City, with a chance to sneak a win against the Phillies, Seattle, and Miami. Believe it or not, that puts them at 12 wins which would be great. A 12-win August would still leave them 4 games below .500 for the month pushing them 15 games under .500 for the season. This should allow for a lot of call-ups as we move to the September 1st 40 man roster expansion and will give Toronto fans something to cheer for.
July record (predicted): 12-12
July record (actual): 9-15
August Outlook: 12-16
*Featured Image Credit: R.Mueller
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