Their schedule so far, as has often been discussed, has been a meat grinder. The American League East is, as always, the big boy division in the big boy loop and they have taken a few hits due to their bullpen issues. Considering that they called two minor league parks and their fans often rooted for opponents, including earlier this week when New York Yankees supporters took over Sahlen Field, now is the right time for a weak spot.
Everything must be won, however, as a fifth straight loss, 7-1 Friday night to the Baltimore Orioles, who feed from below, stressed.
Robbie Ray never seemed to find a rhythm in an outing he described as “an ordeal”, and failed to pass five points, allowing just two points, including a fifth just behind Lourdes Gurriel. Jr., scored to tie the game. in the upper half. The offense, meanwhile, wasn’t usually scary itself, as Thomas Eshelman didn’t allow a hit through four and the reliever box locked things from there.
It was a low-energy night that extended a week of deflation, dropping the Blue Jays to 33-35. Manager Charlie Montoyo was worried enough afterwards to hold a meeting with a small group of players to assess the team’s mood, ask them how they were doing after another tough loss and to reinforce that, “I know that you do your best and all that stuff, ”he said.
“It was a great conversation,” he continued. “And I’m telling you, I’m very lucky as a manager to have a team like that and a bunch of guys like that. That’s why I know we’re going to weather the storm. Remember this. I’ll make a T-shirt.
Montoyo’s recording comes amid a 10-game losing streak in the last 14 games, a series threatening to turn the club’s season upside down. Even in the midst of the ongoing fight, he has tried to maintain his sunny disposition, drawing anger from the excitable torches and pitchforks of social media, but his underlying steadfastness in the face of the fight is lost in translation.
Ray echoed that sentiment, saying “everything in the clubhouse, everyone is fine” and added later, “it’s really easy to panic and start to change the process. “
“I feel like in (Friday’s) game in particular you don’t hit well, what am I doing wrong? I’m not throwing well, I’m not making my throws, what did I do wrong? ” He continued. “Sometimes you just need to take a step back and trust the process. I feel like the guys are doing a pretty good job of doing it. And I feel like we’re going to turn a corner and we’re going to hit the ground running. “
A key obstacle to that is the bullpen, which was not the main culprit this time around, although a messy five-run eighth after Patrick Murphy was extended for a second frame and Jeremy Beasley failed. being able to limit the damage pushed a 2-1 game out of reach.
Up to this point, the bullpen had a good night’s sleep, as Trent Thornton came in with a putout and runners on the corners in the fifth and put out the fire, and for good measure delivered a clear sixth. . This role has been a black hole and its filling is urgently needed.
Murphy followed with a clear seventh but gave up a pair in the eighth before Beasley gave Cedric Mullins a three-point shot on his second homer of the night.
The Orioles, meanwhile, followed Eshelman with 3.1 flawless innings of relief from Tyler Wells, Tanner Scott, Hunter Harvey as the game was uncertain – the kind of lockdown job the Blue Jays too often lacked. . Paul Fry cleaned in the ninth.
“We didn’t swing the sticks like we usually do, but again we were in the game until the eighth inning,” said Montoyo. “Sometimes pitching has to help you win when your hitters are having that kind of night. “
As the demoralizing losses have piled up, the discussion around the team has increasingly focused on why the front office is not moving heaven and earth to complete a transaction.
The main stumbling block on this front is that sellers aren’t motivated to negotiate so far from the deadline and the Blue Jays aren’t willing to pay too much to attract them. Sacrificing too much future currencies for volatile relief aid is not a good formula for building a lasting winner, but it is clear that they need help bridging the gap between their immediate need and the trading window. which is still about a month away.
To that end, they look to Canadian John Axford and American David Robertson, both of whom pitched in the recent Olympic qualifier. An official who was there suggested the two still have enough in the tank to help a big league team, but it’s unclear if that turns into anything.
Whether it’s worth signing them just to show players that the front office is trying is up for debate, but as the Blue Jays wait for the performance stabilization they expect in the reliever box, they could do worse than toss the dice with leverage pedigree.
In the meantime, they’ll have to fix things from the inside, all without the respite offered by the house they lack.
Their chances of returning to Toronto depend on the border reopening and given that neither the Blue Jays nor the other 29 teams are 100% vaccinated, the Blue Jays will likely need some sort of national interest exemption. to make it work.
The treatment of unvaccinated players is an issue for all professional sports in Canada whether entry into the country will depend on whether someone has shot or not, and an interesting question is whether a league would force teams to play without. a full list.
It’s unclear if this can be resolved in time for the Blue Jays to play at Rogers Center this summer, and approval from their own players and the union would be required if any restriction on movement was required.
All of this makes more games in Buffalo, rather than fewer, seem like the most likely outcome and it’s not ideal after their streak against the Yankees this week felt like a streak in the Bronx.
“You kind of saw it coming because we’re in New York, there’s going to be a lot of Yankees fans, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to us. We knew it was going to happen, ”Ray said. “We had a great turnout leading up to the Yankees series with a lot of Blue Jays fans. But we figured out that we were in Buffalo, New York. It’s not Buffalo in Canada. We therefore understood that the series was going to be a little more wobbly in the stands for sure.
That it was a bit more off balance in terms of results only complicates matters. Considering how things have been lately and where the Blue Jays are on the schedule, now is not just the time for them to weather the storm, but to emerge prosperous.