A loss is a loss. But as the Toronto Blue Jays of 2017 know all too well, not all losses are created equally.
There’s the blowout loss. There’s the extra innings loss. There’s the late-game bullpen meltdown loss. And there’s the near-comeback loss. Take your pick – the Blue Jays have experienced them all this April.
Some of those losses may be more disheartening than others, but the fact remains that each one puts the Jays further behind in the standings. @BlueJayWay1 characterized this perfectly in this tweet – the Blue Jays are doing just enough to lose game after game.
It may not be reflected in their 6-16 overall record, but break down each game and the Blue Jays have been maddening close from winning on numerous occasions this season.
Of the Blue Jays' 16 losses this season
7 – by 1 run
5 – by 2 runs
1 – by 3 runs
3 – by 4 or more runs
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) April 28, 2017
And here’s yet another valid point from @BlueJaysWay1:
@BlueJayHunter so the Jays have only lost 2 games all year by more than 2 runs and that didn’t go into extra innings.
— BlueJayWay (@BlueJayWay1) April 28, 2017
That’s almost unbelievable to think the Jays have been “in” all but two of their 22 games thus far this season. Only twice have they really been blown out this year.
It would be one thing if the Jays kept losing games by a wide margin, but more often than not, the Jays are either keeping these games close or staging late-game comebacks that come up just short. As Jason Grilli said the other day, “we’re in every ball game”.
I think back to last year’s Texas Rangers squad, who had an unprecedented 36-11 record in one-run games. As incredible as the Rangers’ luck was in those late and close games last year, fortunes have been oppositely bad for the Blue Jays in 2017.
The Blue Jays’ Pythagorean record (8-14) is slightly better than their actual record of 6-16, but it isn’t much of an improvement. That’s a bloop hit there, a called strike there, a ball that doesn’t pop out of the glove or a liner that doesn’t get snared by the other team.
I’d say the Jays have been a little unlucky through their first 22 games and their luck is bound to turn around sooner than later. Of course, it doesn’t help when four key players on the roster are on the disabled list and two-thirds of the lineup is hitting well below league average.
I’m not trying to make excuses for this team; every team deals with injuries and has to overcome hardships during the season, but it feels like the Jays’ hardships have come all at once in April.
The Blue Jays may be playing poorly right now, but they’re nowhere near as bad as their .273 winning percentage suggests. The law of average suggests things will get better.
At least, that’s what I’m telling myself for now.