It was a wild ride, but it's over now. The Blue Jays sit at 40-40, losers of five straight, including four to the lowly Indians, and are now nine games behind the division leading Yankees. After standing at 31-22 on May 31 (just 3.5 games back) the Blue Jays have gone 9-18. The Jays are now as far back in their division as the Royals, Athletics, Brewers or Cubs. Not that anyone had high hopes for the Jays, but it now looks as if they might not even finish over .500. As in 2009, when the team spent 44 days in first place, Toronto sprinted out of the gate, only to fade in June.
So what's felled Toronto? Surprisingly, it's been the offense. Toronto pitching hasn't been terrific, but the Blue Jays have only allowed 4.41 games per game, good for seventh best in the American League. The offense, however, has fallen below the AL average, scoring the ninth most runs per game. In their current five game losing streak, the Jays have scored 2,1,4,1 and 1 runs.
Toronto has received significant attention for their prodigious power this season, and for good reason. Thanks to an overall team effort, the Jays have hit 115 home runs, ten more than the next nearest team in the league (Boston). The team has been open in discussing their swing for the fences approach, a part of Cito Caston's overall mantra of plate aggression. However, that approach has also produced a thousand bad swings. As such, the Blue Jays are last in the AL in batting average (.237) and more importantly on-base percentage (.305). That's how you can lead the league in HRs and still be ninth in runs scored.
Considering that Toronto traded away Roy Halladay in the off-season and completely gave away Alex Rios in 2009, Toronto's early success is to be applauded. Now, the Jays have to decide if they want to be sellers again.