The Blue Jays’ Alarming Lack of Offense Arises Again

If I told you on Opening Day that the Toronto Blue Jays – MLB’s most prolific offense in 2015  – would have trouble scoring runs, would you believe me?

Would you believe me if I told you the very same team that averaged over five runs per game last season would average only four runs per game this season?

Would you believe me if I told you that Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion – three pillars of the Blue Jays’ lineup – would seemingly go cold at the plate simultaneously for extended periods in 2016?


No … you probably wouldn’t believe that.

Sadly, it’s the Toronto Blue Jays’ worst nightmare right now. They possess one of baseball’s most potent lineups, but judging by how the Blue Jays have looked as of late, you’d hardly know it.

The Jays’ 3-2 loss to the Tigers was just the latest example of the Blue Jays complete and apparent lack of offense at the worst possible time. When the Blue Jays absolutely need a hit this season, more often than not, they can’t come up with one.

Their .219 batting average with runners in scoring position is the third worst in all of baseball. Last year, the Blue Jays led MLB in that very same stat with a .286 batting average with RISP. What a difference one year makes.

Here the Blue Jays are 60 games into the 2016 campaign and their mammoth lineup is a shadow of its former self. They seem to have no trouble at all reaching base, but bringing runners home is a completely different story.

Is it unreasonable to be worried about this team after two poor performances in the last three days? No … because this isn’t a new problem for the Blue Jays; this is something that’s plagued them all season long.

This lack of offense isn’t exclusive to last night’s game or the 11-0 drubbing the night prior. This goes all the way back to Opening Day, and unfortunately it’s an issue that’s persisted on-and-off ever since.

It’s incredibly frustrating because just prior to this series against the Detroit Tigers, it looked like the Blue Jays had finally turned the corner and the offense was back once again. They were scoring double-digit runs again, they were clubbing the ball with authority and the Jays were winning (albeit not as handily as they should).

Then this series began and all those concerns came to the forefront once again. A problem which appeared to have been resolved suddenly crept back up again, and the Jays went from firing on all cylinders to firing on none.


This may in fact just be a slump; every team is prone to a bad stretch over the course of a 162 game campaign. At times last season, even the Blue Jays looked abysmal (although very rarely in the second half). But this is happening to the Blue Jays way too often.

Because many of these hitters have such a proven track record, things should even out and these guys should come back up to their career norms. But the alarming part is none of them really are. Bautista, Donaldson and Encarnacion are all hitting under .250.

Not that batting average is the be-all statistic to measure a player’s worth, but to have the meat of the Blue Jays’ order hitting this poorly all at the same time is quite worrisome.

I’ve mentioned this before, but the starting rotation has been the saving grace of the Blue Jays this year. Without exquisite performances at times from Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ, who knows where this team would be.

Last night’s game was a prime example of what has gone wrong with this team. The Blue Jays pissed away an exceptional start by Aaron Sanchez, and since they scored so few runs, the margin for error was razor thin after Sanchez left the game.

Sanchez gave a gift to the starting lineup and they just threw it away. Not often does a pitcher look that dominant in a game and assure his team a win, only to have the starting lineup strand 11 baserunners and hit 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position.


It’s a rare feat and something to behold … if only for all the wrong reasons.

The Blue Jays really need to snap out of this soon, because they already entered DEFCON 4 prior to the series in Minnesota when Jose Bautista was moved into the leadoff spot. It elevated to DEFCON 3 when they called up Devon Travis. Next is DEFCON 2, and aside from an entire lineup shuffle, the Blue Jays aren’t left with very many options.

They simply need to hit or get off the pot.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.