It wasn’t pretty last night. The division leading Jays losing 8-3 to the last place Rays. So what does this mean, is the sky falling for the Jays? Likely not, while it is tempting to be concerned – especially when the Jays have a thin lead over the Bosox – it is important to keep in mind a few things:
The baseball season is a long one, 162 games and good teams can be blown out by poor teams in a single game. Take the case of the 2001 Seattle Mariners – the team tied with having the most wins in a single season (an incredible 116). By coincidence, if we look through the records of the 2001 Mariners, they were beaten 8-3 by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Tuesday September 4th, 2001. The Devil Rays ended up finishing the season 62-100, yet beat the team who accomplished the incredible feat of recording a .716 winning percentage.
You can see another example of this last year. The Kansas City Royals were beaten 10-3 by Cleveland on Wednesday May 6, and again by Cleveland 12-1 on Wednesday July 29. The Royals ended up winning the World Series, while the Indians barely finished above .500 at 81-80. So what did these two games mean? Well they meant that on those two particular evenings the Indians were a far better team than the Royals, but of course not over the season overall. Oh, and another interesting thing: the two teams played 19 games, and the Mariners barely beat the Indians in the season series with 10 wins. Further the Indians outscored the Royals 90-78. Kind of like the Rays appear to have the Jays number this season.
Now, keep in mind that the Jays still have 5 games left with the Rays. So it is quite possible that these 5 games could have a great impact on how the Jays finish the season with respect to whether they win the division or not. But just don’t write an obituary for the Jays division hopes based just on losing a single game badly to a last place team.