The team was in first place from May 21 to July 5, and hit the All-Star break at 49-47, 4 games behind the Baltimore Orioles and 1 game ahead of the New York Yankees.
The Blue Jays lost 2 straight, 8 of their last 10 games, and have won just two of their past 11 completed series.
Yet Toronto is in a better scenario than in the past 2 decades. The 2014 Blue Jays fell just short of being the first Toronto team to win 50 games before the All-Star break since the 1992 World Championship squad.
The Blue Jays have 6 players in double digits in home runs. Edwin Encarnacion leads the way with 26 (still 3rd in the American League) and fellow All-Star Jose Bautista has 17. The other 4 Blue Jays to reach that mark are 3B Juan Francisco (14), OF Colby Rasmus (12), injured IF Brett Lawrie (12), and LF Melky Cabrera (11).
All-Star pitcher Mark Buehrle has led the way with a 10-6 record and a 2.64 ERA. J.A. Happ and R.A. Dickey have 7 wins each while Drew Hutchison added 6 wins. Dickey has pitched well lately but has suffered due to a lack of run support.
Casey Janssen has had a great first half as the closer with a 3-0 record, a 1.23 ERA and 14/16 in save opportunities. Former All-Star Steve Delabar has gone 3-0 in a setup role.
Toronto has two 1st basemen both on the DL. Edwin Encarnacion injured a quad muscle beating out a double play. Encarnacion will be back far sooner than Adam Lind, who has a non-displaced fracture in his right foot.
Lind was feared to be out 6-8 weeks, but he could be back after a 2-3 weeks absence. He actually hurt the foot on June 14 and played almost a month with the injury. Lind's mom rode to the rescure by requesting her son get a MRI on the foot.
Jose Bautista was helping out at first base, in part because he's recovering from his own injury woes. Bautista returned to right field just before the All-Star break with Dan Johnson playing 1st base.
The team has also been dealing with the loss of Brett Lawrie, who broke a finger after being hit by a pitch in Cincinnati.
The Blue Jays had a rough end to ending the first half with a rough road trip to Oakland, Anaheim, and Tampa Bay. The opponents don't get easier, but the Jays will be at home to start the second half against Texas and Boston.
For the Rangers series, the Friday night starting time is 7:07 pm with 1:07 afternoon weekend starts. The Red Sox series has 7:07 pm starts Monday-Wednesday and a 12:37 matinee on Thursday.
Comcast is offering Toronto feeds for all 7 games of the MLB Extra Innings free preview: Sportsnet One for the weekend games, Sportsnet Ontario otherwise.
The team may make some deadline trades, but getting back healthy people might be better than any trade. Toronto did reach back in the recent wayback machine to acquire Brett Wallace from Baltimore. You might remember that Wallace was acquired from Oakland for Michael Taylor and then dealt to Houston for Anthony Gose. Wallace can play 1st base, a position where the Jays need help. Hopefully, the fit will boost the offense.
The fans weren't really coming out on a regular basis even when the team was playing well. There is a caution built from last year's expectations and 21 years of frustration. The fans will come through the turnstiles in time, but more will be out there if the Blue Jays can find their offensive groove in the second half.
Bud Selig and the Montréal Expos
Bud Selig was impressed with Montréal's ability to draw 96,350 fans for the two exhibition games in March.
"I think they (Montréal) would be an excellent candidate in the future. No question about it. That was very impressive," Selig said during a question-and-answer session with the Baseball Writers' Association of America.
As far as getting a team/stadium in Montréal …
“They have much work to be done," Selig said. "There’s certainly in my case no hard or angry feeling toward Montreal. We tried to keep a team there. It’s a long story now. But I thought that was marvelous."
With all due respect, MLB did not try one bit "to keep a team there" in Montréal. In fact, MLB paved the way to get them out of Montréal.
The Olympic Stadium current roof issues are more a concern in colder weather, but a new downtown stadium would have to be the driving force.
Selig is retiring as MLB commissioner, so his praise is curiously timed. With the work that would be needed, whether for expansion or a relocated team, Selig will be long gone from the scene. The new commissioner will have to deal with Montréal's viability for a MLB franchise.
Selig does deserve a significant amount of credit in how poorly the Montréal situation was handled, from rewarding Jeffrey Loria for screwing up the Expos to the San Juan nightmare.
Given what happened to MLB in Milwaukee in the 1960s, Selig should have been more sympathetic to the plight of losing a team, especially since Selig worked diligently to get a team into County Stadium, ultimately picking off the sickly Seattle Pilots.
Montréal will more than likely have to agree to build a stadium with no guarantee of getting a franchise. If the stadium somehow got built, Montréal would be in an ideal position to get a MLB team.
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