Opening day could’t have gone any worse for the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that was desperate to get out to a hot start in 2014. However, having to play against the Tampa Bay Rays was bad enough, considering they haven’t won a series at Tropicana Field since 2007, and then an injury occurred that sparked the Jays’ inevitable downfall.
Jays’ All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes failed to take the field in the bottom of the first inning, after aggravating a tight left hamstring during his first at-bat that had been bothering him for the past week or so. Reyes has since been placed on the disabled list, which ultimately spells a lot of trouble for a team that lacks any sort of depth at the shortstop position.
When Reyes missed a total of 69 games in 2013 in his first season as a Blue Jay, his team never recovered. Although his leadership was still very much felt from the dugout and from inside the clubhouse, his killer instinct on the base paths was greatly missed. The Jays also lost his stellar defense, something that was felt what seemed like immediately after he left game No. 1 against the Rays.
Jonathan Diaz has since been called up by the big league club and should be the favorite to take Reyes’ place while he has a stint on the 15-day disabled list. Although Diaz is a professional, he is nowhere near the player Reyes can be whether he is healthy or sputtering around 50 percent.
The Jays will now be forced to move on with their season without one of their leaders in the lineup. The hole that has now been created up the middle of the infield and at the leadoff spot in the batting order is astounding. The only way the Jays will recover is if Reyes can make a comeback. If the native of the Dominican Republic is shut down for an amount of time that’s comparable to the time he missed in 2013, the Jays will have no choice but to kiss their season goodbye.