The Hunt For October

The Toronto Blue Jays have lost their fourth straight series after a brutal 8-1 loss by the Tampa Bay Rays, the basement dwellers of the 2016 American League East. Manager John Gibbons said that that the team has hit “rock bottom” and there are concerns about reigning MVP Josh Donaldson, who has been ice cold (0 home runs, hitting .097) this month and has finally returned to the line up after dealing with a hip injury, then there’s Marco Estrada (3-6 with a 5.47 ERA since his return from the DL in July) who pitched with a herniated disk in his back.

With these growing concerns, maybe a road trip to the west coast could help  this ballclub turn it around for the sake of the playoffs and the fans. The road trip begins tonight as J.A. Haap will take the to the mound against the Los Angeles Angels, who are well out of the playoff hunt, but have Mike Trout and Albert Pujols slugging away in their lineup.

With teams like Baltimore, Detroit, Seattle, New York and Boston making big pushes, the Blue Jays need to stop being so laid back and get back on the wining track. A team that has a great offence has been cold all month long. They’re 3-9 so far in September, they’re striking out more, extra base hits down and their at-bats per home runs has drastically decreased since late August.

The Blue Jays cannot afford to be mediocre. If they don’t do well on this road trip, they will finally have their backs against the wall. Since 2013, with John Gibbons as the skipper, they are 21-24 out west and are currently 5-3 this season. Since the Jays last visit  to Anaheim last season, they have been playing well in the PDT zone. The Blue Jays laid a beating on the Halos in 2015 and there was all the buzz surrounding Josh Donaldson and Mike Trout, who were the two favourites to win the AL MVP and it was only a matter of time before the Bringer of Rain was the clear front runner.

Oh, and the Blue Jays were in second place, a half game back of the New York Yankees. Remind you, no one said winning back-to-back AL East division titles would be easy.

In Seattle, where the play the back end of the road trip, the Blue Jays have a very strong, loyal and loud fan support from Jays fan coming from BC, and the prairie provinces (they get the support no matter what city they’re in). However, over  the past 10 years, the Blue Jays are 1-6 in the series against Seattle with three splits.

It will be intense and anxious for fans to watch them on the west coast swingand up until the last game of the season. J.A. Haap, R.A. Dickey, Francisco Liriano and Marcus Stroman will face the Angels, who have been hitting strong as of late, including their lone visit to the Rogers Centre three weeks ago.

The Toronto Blue Jays can turn it around and there is still optimism in the air. September baseball is gutless as anything CAN happen. This team must return to excellence on the mound with their starters and also at the plate, or else they can start booking tee times.

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