Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

Article content

No offense to the Blue Jays’ offense, but as the bats continue to struggle something must soon give.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Either a trade for a left-handed bat must be engineered or the hitting-is-contagious mantra must finally be front and center.

No panic buttons are being reached because the Jays do find themselves in a playoff position, even though they are not exactly playing like post-season contenders.

The schedule will turn soft, beginning with Friday’s visit to Cincinnati as part of a three-game weekend series, and perhaps the prospect of the weather heating up lead to a red-hot attack.

Article content

For now, questions abound amid so few answers and even fewer options.

It’s one thing to tweak a lineup, quite another to see an offense that puts together solid at-bats that results in runners on scoring position crossing the plate.

The Jays have yet to sweep a series and were denied an opportunity Wednesday when Seattle left town with a 5-1 win.

Advertisement 3

Article content

Toronto’s lone run came on a bases-loaded walk.

For what it’s worth, the Jays have been linked to Washington’s Juan Soto, one of the game’s best young players who easily falls under the category of a baseball superstar.

He’s eligible for free agency following the 2002 season.

The Nationals aren’t very good and the club attempted to lock up Soto to a 13-year deal worth $ 350 million US.

He declined.

The Jays were reportedly keen on Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez before he decided to stick around by signing a long-term deal with the Guardians.

Rumors aside, the Jays’ offense needs an injection of some kind.

A boost might come from within and given the marathon nature of baseball there’s time for the team’s hitters to either make the appropriate changes, whether it involves mechanics or mental.

Advertisement 4

Article content

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is in the midst of a career-high 15-game hit streak, but he hasn’t exactly been mashing the ball.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who left Wednesday’s game with hamstring tightness, has been scuffling, recording three hits in his past 11 games.

In the 10 games since he returned from the injured list, Teoscar Hernandez has one extra-base hit, a double against the Mariners in the series finale.

Unfortunately for Hernandez, he would get picked off at second base, the sixth time the Jays have been picked off this season.

On the same night, he left the bases loaded after Vlad Jr. drew a walk.

“This is an offense that usually we swing the bats and everybody’s fine and you can come back in a 4-1, 5-1 game,” said manager Charlie Montoyo. “But it seems like now somebody scores four runs and it seems like 10 and that happens when your offense is struggling.

Advertisement 5

Article content

“When (runners are getting picked off) happen, it’s magnified. Just like when a reliever comes in and gives up a run or something, it’s like: ‘Oh my God.’ But the guys have been pitching good, it’s a close game every game. ”

We apologize, but this video has failed to load.

Close games were quite common for the Jays, who found ways to produce one-run wins.

Their record, which sits at 20-18 going into the Cincinnati series, might be much different if those one-run wins were one-win losses.

Kevin Gausman has lost his past two starts and he even gave up his first home run as a Blue Jay when Seattle took him deep Wednesday.

The newest Jay has been impressed with the team’s starters.

“I feel like we have a beast-caliber guy going any given day,” he said. “More than that, we have a lot of different looks that are coming at teams.

Advertisement 6

Article content

“From the left side (Yuseii) Kikuchi throws 97 with a split and then you got (Hyun Jin) Ryu from the left side, too, and it’s a completely different pitcher. Then there’s Jose (Berrios) and obviously (Alek) Manoah, all those guys are completely different.

“I think we match up really well against a lot of lineups because of it.”

Starting pitching is not an issue and figures to be a strength of the team moving forward as Ryu tries to regain his form.

GM Ross Atkins has liked what he has seen from the team’s starters.

“It keeps you in every game as we’ve been in every game, maybe one or two you can say we were not but seems like we’ve been in absolutely every single one of them and that starts with starting pitching,” he said Atkins.

Advertisement 7

Article content

“That does take some pressure off the bullpen as well.”

With Jordan Romano (gastrointestinal infection) day-to-day and Tim Mayza (forearm) on the 15-day injured list, the pen is thinner.

Against the M’s, Trevor Richards and Ross Stripling gave up homers.

Just as the need for a left-handed bat is obvious to anyone following the team, the need for a bullpen arm with swing and miss ability is equally glaring.

Pitching and defense lined up perfectly on the many nights when Toronto’s bats went dormant, which helps explain the one-run wins.

Eventually, the team’s offense must step up.

In the 16 games played in May, the Jays have hit nine home runs.

During that stretch, Vlad Jr. has gone deep once.

He hasn’t had an extra-base hit in 11 straight games heading into Friday.

Advertisement 8

Article content

Santiago Espinal is on a career-high 12-game hit streak.

For the month of May, Espinal has one fewer run batted in (4) than Vlad Jr. (5).

RETURN OF JOEY

Toronto native and Reds first baseman Joey Votto was asked about the sights he’d like to see during his homecoming.

Tongue firmly planted in cheek, Votto said: “I’d like to see the center of the baseball. And parts of the city? Somewhere around windows? Maybe the second deck? We’ll see, maybe somewhere around there.

“That’s what I’m targeting. That’s what I’m most looking forward to. ”

A six-time all-star and future Hall of Famer, Votto was hitting only .122 in the 22 games he played prior to going on the COVID injured list on May 3.

“I’ve performed so poorly to start the season it’s not something I’m comfortable with or used to,” he added.

fzicarelli@postmedia.com

Advertisement 1

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications — you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.