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Say what you will about this year’s Toronto Blue Jays, but the club has finally realized something has to change.

They sit dead last in the American League East heading into their series-opening game against the Chicago White Sox, 11.5 games back of the division lead and 3.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. Their early season sputters have transitioned to a free fall, and now, we’re starting to see continued changes.

Vladmir Guerrero Jr. has improved his game, finally making good on his hard contact. In the month of May, he’s gone 22-for-54 at the plate, slashing an impressive .407/.475/.500 for a .975 OPS.

Bo Bichette dropped down the order on May 5th, and he’s shown things are turning a corner — albeit slowly — going 10-for-42 at the plate, slashing .238/.319/.333 for a .652 OPS. While there’s more to be yearned for from him, his OPS has increased from .542 to .571, thanks to this recent run.

The affable Davis Schneider has been the best and most consistent bat throughout the season. He took over the leadoff spot from George Springer, who the Jays will hope can find his way. Despite an incredibly small sample size of two games since this change happened, Springer has posted a .500 on-base percentage, going 2-for-6 with two RBIs and two walks.

Among it all, the latest change to the lineup sees Danny Jansen skyrocket up the lineup, moving from the usual five, six or seven spot he’s hit in all season, to second in the order. It’s well deserved, as since he made his season debut on April 16th, he’s slashed .313/.384/.625 for a 1.009 OPS, all being team-leading marks despite him not registering as a qualified hitter yet.

Toronto has reached a breaking point in its season. With Baseball-Reference giving it an 8.9 percent chance to make the playoffs and FanGraphs a 19 percent chance heading into Tuesday’s game, it has a choice to make.

Do they take advantage of their next four series, facing the White Sox twice, the Detroit Tigers and Pittsburgh Pirates, finding a way to win as many of the 13 games as possible, or do the Jays let the season slip away? This stretch could define their season.


First pitch:

3:07 p.m. EST. TV & Radio: Sportsnet

Starting pitchers:

NameTeamGS

W

L

IP

ERA

xERA

ERA-

FIP

WHIP

K/9

BB/9

José BerríosTOR94354.12.824.60744.681.056.962.65
Erick FeddeCHW94052.02.603.44673.901.068.652.42

Lineups:


BLUE JAYS:

  1. D Schneider (R) 2B
  2. D Jansen (R) C
  3. V Guerrero Jr. (R) 1B
  4. B Bichette (R) SS
  5. J Turner (R) DH
  6. G Springer (R) RF
  7. D Varsho (L) LF
  8. I Kiner-Falefa (R) 3B
  9. K Kiermaier (L) CF

WHITE SOX:
  1. T Pham (R) CF
  2. A Vaughn (R) 1B
  3. G Sheets (L) RF
  4. E Jiménez (R) DH
  5. A Benintendi (L) LF
  6. P DeJong (R) SS
  7. K Lee (R) C
  8. N Lopez (L) 2B
  9. D Mendick (R) 3B

Need to bide the time until first pitch?

Tune into the latest edition of Blue Jays Nation Radio as the crew talks about all the happenings in Toronto and beyond.


Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.







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