The Blue Jays came into Fenway Park 10 days ago with the best record in the American League and a 3 ½ game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East. They were 27-14, the best start over 41 games in franchise history. Then their series with the Red Sox began, and everything has changed save one thing: the ‘27’in the win column of the standings.
Toronto returns home to Rogers Centre for another series against the Red Sox today having lost all nine games on their road trip. The Jays have plummeted to third place, two games behind the Red Sox and a game and a half behind the Yankees. They hit .185 during the spell, and they bottomed out in their last game, on Wednesday.
Roy Halladay – who, as in their previous series, the Red Sox will be lucky enough to miss – left with an 8-3 after seven innings. The Baltimore Orioles scored five runs in the eighth. The game went to extra innings. The Jays scored two runs in the 11th. The Orioles scored four in the bottom half. Losses rarely come more painful than that.
Is it time to dismiss the Jays as contenders? Maybe not quite yet. The Jays still have a plus-30 run differential, which is identical to the Red Sox. Then again, they’re now 8-13 against clubs with winning records, which doesn’t scream “staying power.”
If the Red Sox sweep the Jays this weekend, they may not be able to get off the mat. It also doesn’t seem all that unrealistic for the Blue Jays to take a game or two this weekend, catch their breath, and play .500 ball when Roy Halladay doesn’t pitch the rest of the way. That would put them in position to at least contend. One of the versions of Toronto we’ve seen this year is a fluke. We’ll find out which one soon enough.