Red Sox Standings Watch: Stuck in the middle of AL East
By Sean Penney
Toronto Blue Jays
The team many expected to contend with the Red Sox for the top spot in the division has instead found themselves in the basement of the AL East.
It looks like losing Edwin Encarnacion in free agency has crippled the Jays offense even more than the Red Sox have dropped off without Ortiz. Toronto is 14th in the league in runs scored and OPS without their top slugger anchoring the lineup. His replacement, Kendrys Morales, has provided modest power but is hitting a meager .227 with a .667 OPS. Jose Bautista is a shell of his former self and no longer has the bat speed to catch up with a major league fastball. It also clearly hasn’t helped that Josh Donaldson has been sidelined by a calf injury that has limited him to nine games.
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The pitching staff has had it’s fair share of issues as well. Aaron Sanchez is coming off a breakout season in which he led the league in ERA, but he’s been limited to three starts due to a finger injury. He was activated for a start on Sunday, only to be removed after one inning with a cracked fingernail likely to send him back to the disabled list.
Roberto Osuna was on the shelf to start the season and hasn’t been up to his usual standards since his return, blowing three of his first six save chances. Setup man and occasional fill-in closer Jason Grilli has been a dumpster fire so far, posting a 7.27 ERA and 1.62 WHIP in 10 appearances.
Toronto should be expected to improve when and if they get healthier, but they are digging themselves into a deep hole with a dismal opening month that already has them 8 games back in the division.