The Toronto Blue Jays’ 11 game win streak ended this past week at Tropicana Field in Tampa, bringing an end to an amazing run in which it seemed like the Blue Jays could do no wrong. After starting the season 13-23 and losing All Star shortstop Jose Reyes for 2 months because of an injury in Kansas City early into the season, the Blue Jays found themselves more than 11 games out of first place at one point and it seemed like they would suffer the same fate as the Miami Marlins of 2012.
However, the Blue Jays turned it around in June. Between June 11th and June 23rd Toronto went 11-0 to find themselves back within 5 games of first place, albeit still in last place in the AL East. All the problems that had plagued the Blue Jays seemed to have disappeared. Led by Edwin Encarnacion, the hitters were able to give their pitchers the advantage by scoring early in the game as well as stringing together some good at-bats late in the game to rally from behind against Baltimore. RA Dickey, who had pitched inconsistently ever since moving to the American League got his knuckler to trouble the hitters again, while Mark Beuhrle was back to being the reliable type of pitcher he has been throughout his career and Esmil Rogers and Chien-Ming Wang (who were not even in the rotation to begin the season) pitched some great games to provide support to the hitters who had always found themselves behind in games at the beginning of the season.
But in the past 5 games, the Blue Jays seem to be playing the same type of baseball that got them into last place in the AL East to begin with. Toronto has gone 1-4 in their past 5 games after failing to get the bats going against Tampa and then dropping two straight games at Fenway, being outscored 23 runs to 14 runs in that span. The Blue Jays are now 8.5 GB in the AL East and under .500 again now as the season nears the halfway mark, drifting ever so slowly toward the 10GB mark where fans may start to lose hope in the team again, as evidenced by the sub 20,000 fans attending games at the Rogers Centre when the Blue Jays were playing lackluster baseball earlier in the season.
Toronto still has a lot of problems that they need to fix if they want to make it to the playoffs for the first time in 20 years. The starting rotation is still unreliable and an extra starter may need to be acquired at the trade deadline. Brandon Morrow and Brett Lawrie will be a welcome addition to the team when they are able to return but they will need to play good baseball from the get-go, as the season gets older the room for error will get smaller and smaller. The Blue Jays still have a ways to go if they want to be the team that their fans expected them to be when the season began.