The Blue Jays Are Down But Not Completely Out
On the surface, things look pretty grim for the Toronto Blue Jays. Down 0-2 in their ALDS series and on the road in Texas for two more games. If the Blue Jays lose, they go home; but if they win, they live to fight another day.
After having some time to process that devastating extra innings loss on Friday, things might not actually seem as dire as they once were. My tone has suddenly gone from “how awful would it be if the Jays got swept?” to “how awesome would it be if they came back?”
Sure, being on the brink of elimination leaves the Toronto Blue Jays with a lot of work to do; but this deficit isn’t insurmountable.
Five times it has been done before. Five times, a team has come back from being down 0-2 in a division series to win a series. It’s improbable that the Blue Jays can pull this off, but it’s not entirely impossible.
Perhaps part of the problem is looking at it as three must-win games in a row. In a reality, that’s what they are, but maybe that’s not the way the Blue Jays should approach and subsequent games in this series against the Texas Rangers.
If the Blue Jays win their next two games, they can send the series back home for a fifth and deciding game; at that point, it becomes a coin flip to see which team will advance, and those odds are far better than what they are right now.
I think back to 2007 when the Boston Red Sox were down to the Cleveland Indians 3-1, and Manny Ramirez instilled these words upon his team.
“Why should we panic? We’ve got a great team. It doesn’t happen, so who cares? There’s always next year. It’s not like it’s the end of the world.”
What happened? The Red Sox won the next three consecutive games in the series and marched their way towards a World Series title.
When the Red Sox took a step backwards and relaxed, that’s when they began playing their own brand of baseball and they rode that wave into the World Series.
Could the Toronto Blue Jays do the same?
It sounds so simple, but the Blue Jays just need to remind themselves that they’ve done this before. On 11 different occasions this season, the Blue Jays won three or more consecutive games. The Jays also haven’t lost three straight games since July 10th of this season.
Only five times during the entire 2015 season have the Blue Jays lost three or more consecutive games. Five times … that’s it. And they aren’t about to make it six.
This season, the Blue Jays have fared very well against left-handed pitchers. Traditionally, Toronto has also hit very well in Texas. So while they may not have the “home field advantage” for these next two games, the Blue Jays have about every other aspect in their favour.
Again, it’s very easy to look at this series and think that the Blue Jays have almost no hope to win the next three games. After losing Game 2 in demoralizing fashion, it can be incredibly difficult to bounce back from a 14-inning marathon game.
While the umpiring was quite questionable overall in Game 2 on Friday afternoon, it wasn’t MLB conspiring against the Blue Jays. They had ample chances to win that game and they simply didn’t. The Rangers capitalized on a late opportunity and the Blue Jays didn’t capitalize on theirs.
The difference between a 1-1 and 2-0 series is huge in a short five-game series. With the Blue Jays on the verge of elimination, this might seem like a time to play with more of a sense of urgency or for the team to “try harder”, but the truth is … they will likely do the exact opposite.
The Blue Jays just need to look more like the club that propelled themselves into playoff spot, took the American League East division crown and won 93 games this season.
That team was no fluke; but it wasn’t the same Toronto Blue Jays club that showed up in Game 1 and 2 of the ALDS.
The margin for error here for the Blue Jays is much smaller down 0-2, but if they just get back to the brand of baseball that made them so successful in the regular season, they shouldn’t have any problem winning Game 3.
And then worry about Game 4 and 5 down the road.
Image via AP Photo/Eric Gay
One thought on “The Blue Jays Are Down But Not Completely Out”
They won game 3 and 4, let's get the dome open for game 5!
Comments are closed.