The Toronto Blue Jays will start the second half of the season on Friday good for last place in the American League East. With their playoff hopes fading — they are five games back of the AL wild card that is next here are.
Fire up the bats
Russell Martin, Jose Bautista, Troy Tulowitzki and Josh Donaldson showed signs they started to heat up just prior to the break. Toronto will need their bats to contribute in the second half. The Blue Jays’ offence ranks 26th among 30 MLB teams in runs scored with 366 (top-ranked Houston has 527) and Toronto’s team batting average is .244, 24th in baseball. To get a lineup filled with players that can hit for power, the Jays have belted 31 less homers (117) compared to the Astros (148), who also lead MLB in that class.
Measure up with Sanchez
The Blue Jays got six starts within the first half of this season from Aaron Sanchez, as he battled fingernail and blister difficulties. Toronto was missing Sanchez’s power arm while reliever Joe Biagini filled in admirably occasionally. The Jays had anticipated the to figure in their rotation this season, however, a blister that formed in spring training resulted in the elimination of a portion of the fingernail that was affected in April. Sanchez has made with bouts of DL period in between. He had a rough final outing before the break — a 12-2 loss to Houston where he lasted just 1 2/3 innings. Toronto will need Sanchez to return to his 2016 form in the second half.
Maintain Smoak smokin’
This past year outfielder Michael Saunders blossomed over the first half of the season of Toronto to an abysmal calibre hitter. The Victoria native had 16 homers and a .298 batting average in the break, making a place on the American League squad for the Midsummer Classic for the first time in his career. However, Saunders sputtered in the second half, hitting .178 with a .282 on-base percentage. Toronto can not afford to have the identical thing happened to its Justin Smoak, this year. Smoak got off to a somewhat sudden hot start, batting .294 with 23 homers and 56 RBI’s through 87 games. Among the Jays in the plate this year, the switch hitter, will have to keep up that speed when he returns from the Game at Miami.
Recharge the bullpen
With the starters failing to pitch deep into games this year of Toronto, the Blue Jays’ relief corps that is taxed will be welcoming the break. Toronto’s bullpen has pitched 314 innings, fifth most in the majors and second in the American League behind Baltimore, and they have given up 160 runs (147 of them earned), tied for sixth most in the AL.. The bullpen has not been all bad. One in the first half of the team’s greatest performers has been closer Roberto Osuna, who is on a streak of 21 saves. Maintaining the fresh will be one of the keys to the success in the second half of Toronto.
Retool, not reconstruct
The Blue Jays will have a stretch of 17 games to the trade deadline on July 31 at the end of the fracture. They can add to their roster picking up if by that point direction feels that the playoffs aren’t within reach. Pending agents like Marco Estrada, Bautista and Francisco Liriano could proceed, but only if the yield is logical for Toronto. Unless a group gifts Toronto to pass up — big names under contract through next season will stay put.