Checking in on the Red Sox AL East Rivals: Week One
Red Sox rival: Toronto Blue Jays
Weekly Record: 6-4
Many people, including this author, believed the Blue Jays were primed to run away with the division. Yet after a week and a half, including sets against the lowly Rangers and Athletics, the Jays sit at just 6-4 with a negative three run differential.
The biggest reason for concern for the Blue Jays so far is Hyun-Jin Ryu. He signed with Toronto prior to the 2020 season, but after a strong debut campaign, Ryu saw his ERA rise by over a run and a half and his strikeout rate drastically decrease. Those struggles have carried over into 2022, as he has allowed 11 runs in his first 7.1 innings. Ryu has always been a finesse pitcher who had a small margin for error, but at age 35, that margin may have disappeared entirely.
The offense, meanwhile, has been up-and-down. They absolutely annihilated the Rangers pitching staff on opening weekend but scored just 9 runs in their four games in the Bronx. Bo Bichette (.222 average, .555 OPS) is struggling, and with Teoscar Hernandez on the injured list, much of the offensive load has fallen on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.
None of this to say that the Blue Jays are no longer AL East favorites. The team is still stacked, and they have more than enough offense and pitching to overcome the early injuries and underperformance. Still, it’s nice to see that the Blue Jays are struggling to get going in 2022, especially with the team set to enter Fenway Park for a four-game set this week.