Toronto Blue Jays: That’s A Wrap For 2016

Toronto Blue Jays:  That’s A Wrap For 2016&h=235&w=320&zc=1

The Toronto Blue Jays ended their 2016 season the same way they ended the 2015 season–with a loss in the AL Championship series. This year, it was the Cleveland Indians eliminating the Blue Jays in six games. It’s difficult to say that a team that reached it’s second consecutive ALCS was a ‘disappointment’. That’s obviously better than 13 other American League teams ended their 2016 seasons. Still, 2016 feels like a season where the Blue Jays were always ‘on the verge’ of gaining control of their division but could never seal the deal.

Ironically, it is their offense that is largely responsible for their ALCS loss. To be fair, Cleveland pitching had plenty to do with it. The Blue Jays’ offense looked dominant against Texas to the point where they *still* lead all of the playoff teams in runs scored despite their flameout against the Indians. The disparity between the numbers they put up in the wild card game and ALDS and what they did in the ALCS is insane. Of their 35 total runs during the postseason only 8 came during the ALCS. Five of those came in their lone victory meaning they scored a grand total of 3 runs in four losses. Overall, Toronto averaged just 1.6 runs per game in the series against Cleveland.

The pitching wasn’t bad during the ALCS allowing just 12 runs in the five games. Holding an opponent to an average of 2.4 runs per game would have been enough to win had the offense not completely disappeared. Cleveland did have the #2 team ERA in the American League this year just 4 percentage points behind Toronto but nothing about their 3.84 ERA in the regular season suggested this level of dominance. Ultimately, we’re left to conclude that it was the same thing that has typified this Blue Jays team and they just didn’t produce when they most needed to.

As the team heads into the off-season the future for the team looks somewhat hazy. There’s plenty of pieces to work with including a solid pitching staff and returning Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki. Two players that probably won’t be back are two of the Jays’ biggest names of the past few years–Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. At this stage in their career their numbers can be replaced but if they do leave it will signify an end of an era in Toronto baseball.

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