By Jordan Wevers @JordanWevers on August 20, 2014
Though not mathematically eliminated yet, the Jays are birds on a very thin wire right now. Unlike the Orioles who are flying high, the reality of Toronto making the playoffs is slim. It's Wild Card or bust right now for the Bluebirds from the north.
Manager John Gibbons held the same position with the Blue Jays from 2004-2008. The team's best output came in 2006 when they went 87-75. They did not make the playoffs that year, and it looks like the best season in Gibbons' current regime won't result in a playoff appearance either.
The Jays don't appear to play with the same intensity that many of the more consistent teams in baseball play with. Complacency seems to be an issue. After a hot streak, they take their foot off the pedal a bit. Given that the Orioles pretty much have the AL East division in the bag, the only chance Toronto has at playoffs is grabbing a Wild Card spot. There is little room for error moving forward.
Marcus Stroman has arguably been their best starter since the All-Star break. Given that he is a rookie, that's not a good thing. Toronto is leaning too heavily on young arms like Stroman (23) and Aaron Sanchez (22), when really they need a veteran presence to emerge and start pitching well late into ball games down the stretch run.
It's inevitable that every team will deal with injuries over the course of a 162-game season, so this point is partially contentious. However, Brett Lawrie is a better bat than Juan Francisco, and a much better defender at third base. He has been a big loss. 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion missed significant time in July and August, and the Jays went 16-17 over that period.
The Jays paid aging vet R.A. Dickey to be their ace following his Cy Young campaign with the Mets in 2012. A 23-25 record thus far to go with a 4.10 ERA is money not well spent. Mark Buehrle had a hot start, but at 35, regression was bound to occur. Drew Hutchison is brutal at home (6.46 ERA at home vs 4.04 ERA on road). That leaves J.A Happ (8-8, 4.39) and Stroman (7-3, 3.83) to round out the rotation.
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