The Toronto Blue Jays sent George Springer to the IL, which means their playoff hopes require everyone at their best
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The Toronto Blue Jays got some terrible news on Tuesday as their star CF, George Springer will head to the IL with a knee sprain. At first, we thought it was an ankle, then we thought it was something that would keep him out day to day and now, he will be out for a bit longer. And, while we are all “hopeful” as manager, Charlie Montoyo put it, the reality is that Toronto’s playoff chances hang in the balance and the rest of the roster will have to step up in a big way.
We waited what felt like forever for Springer to recover from his first injury, the one that kept him out for months and his return was glorious. He made up for lost time in a major way. His season totals rocketed up to 16 HR, 35 RBI, an OPS of .972 and a wRC+ of 157 and earned him back to back AL Player of the Week honours.
That is some serious production to lose at such an important time of the season, a time when every win is vital to postseason aspirations as Toronto sits (before play Tuesday) 8 games out of the division lead and 4 out of a Wild Card spot. Teoscar Hernandez is doing his part lately, picking up the Player of the Week nod where Springer left off. In fact, August has been rather kind to Hernandez who is hitting .431 with 4 HR and 13 RBI. He will absolutely need to keep that going. But, he can’t do it alone.
Since lighting the baseball world on fire in the first half of the season, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.has had a disappointing August. July saw him hit .286 and that average had dipped lower to .233 this month. Obviously, the 22 year old is still hitting .314 on the season with a wRC+ of 173, but the Blue Jays sure could use a boost in his August wRC+ of 80. It must be exhausting carrying your team for the first 80 games or so of a season.
Bo Bichette is having an even worse start to August, hitting just .204 with a single home run and 14 strike outs. He has 14 Ks in all of July. His wRC+ mark (36) reminds of a former Blue Jays short stop who everyone loved, but really couldn’t hit: Ryan Goins. Obviously, Bichette is no Ryan Goins and he will not hit .200 for the remainder of the season. But, the sooner he turns it around, the better.
And, it keeps going. After hitting .239 in July, Marcus Semien is at the .250 mark. Cavan Biggio has struggled all year. You get the idea. The offense is struggling as a whole in August and they just lost Springer, who is arguably their spark plug.
Perhaps, one bright light has come in the form of Corey Dickerson, who has been a Trade Deadline acquisition before and helped his new team in their quest for playoffs. He was traded to Toronto while hurt and made his return just this month. Thus far, he’s hitting .303 with a wRC+ of 124.
Of course, none of this will matter if the pitching doesn’t also pull their weight. The bullpen cannot afford to lose anymore games and the starters need to be at their best. If the Blue Jays are going to make the playoffs in 2021, it will require a total team effort. The margin for error is now…what’s slimmer than slim? At the risk of sounding alarmist, there is not as much time left in the season as the calendar may suggest. Even 4 games can take a while to make up. And, if Toronto is going to do it, they will need all hands on deck. George Springer’s injury only serves to highlight this reality.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.