Our Toronto Blue Jays have clawed their way back into first place! Hurray!
The return of Jose Bautista has provided the Jays with a slight offensive boost as the team continues to hit home runs to make up for a decline in overall batting average. Hopefully, the decline in batting average will not persist over the remaining games and that the bats of Pillar, Barney, Saunders, Smoak and Upton can produce at the pace that was shown prior to the All-Star break.
With respect to the starting rotation, it appears that the Jays have resolved the issue of whether Aaron Sanchez should remain a starter or be moved to the bullpen. We think that much controversy has been made out of a mole hill and are glad that Atkins and staff took advice and immediately took charge of this minor controversy to clearly communicate that Sanchez would remain in the starting rotation. Sanchez certainly deserves to finish the season as a member of the Jays starting rotation based on his performance on the field.
But as Manager John Gibbons remarked, the decision to keep Sanchez in the starting or move him to the bullpen (where he pitched very well last year) is a “damn if you do, damn if you don’t” decision. If Sanchez and the Jays now falter, it will certainly be difficult for fans to point fingers at Atkins and the front office for the decision to allow him to the finish the season as a starter. Similarly, if the Jays bullpen falls apart (and let’s face it, the bullpen outside of Osuna and Grilli (maybe Biagini) have caused serious heartburn and anxiety over the season), then there is no one else to blame but the media, the fans and all of the players who questioned whether Sanchez should have been moved to the pen.
At this point, all we can do, as fans, is move forward from this minor controversy, support all of the jays players and hope that the players continue to believe in their own abilities and the abilities of the team so that we can once again enjoy play-off baseball. Go jays Go!