The Blue Jays’ best bank account is yet to come in the second half of the season

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OAKLAND — At some point late Tuesday night, the layer of sea that so often shrouds the Bay Area was likely to descend on the Coliseum, the aging decrepit stadium home to Major League Baseball’s worst team.

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It’s also where the Toronto Blue Jays were looking to start the second half of their season with much more confidence than the initial 81-game series ended.

By any measure, the first half was an underperformance for the Jays, who entered Tuesday’s action on a winning streak of 88, three shy of the number that kept them one game away. of the post-season in 2021.

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The wildcard team added for 2022 will help the cause, but it also comes with caution. You have to go back to 2017 to find the most recent season where 88 wins would have been enough to land a wildcard third place, had it existed – 91 in 2021, 93 in 2019 and 90 in 2018.

But while there may be some frustration with a late slip to keep the win total at 44 at the halfway point, there doesn’t appear to be panic among the Jays, currently third in the tough American League. East.

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“I don’t think we’ve played our best baseball yet, which is actually a good sign,” said center fielder George Springer, the Jays’ highest-paid player and a star brought on to help the team succeed. in the playoffs.

“We’ve done a good job of staying afloat and we still have (12) games until the All-Star break, so we’ll see what happens.”

What needs to happen – almost immediately – is top-down help from the pitching staff, a situation that is approaching desperate times.

With Kevin Gausman unsure of making his next start due to (ankle) injury, Jose Berrios a mid-season job in progress and Hyun-Jin Ryu out for the season, the rotation is a shadow of the one that started. the season heralded as much more strength.

With the starter’s struggles, the bullpen is worn and throwing fumes, which is hardly a recipe for long-term success. So even if the players go through the recent lean run, it’s incumbent on the front office to bolster the pitching staff before things get too far away.

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That’s easier said than done because the market hasn’t warmed up yet, but it will be soon enough as the August 2 MLB trade deadline approaches.

General manager Ross Atkins, however, is expected to be active and aggressive. But in the meantime, those currently on the list think they have more to give, too.

“This group understands that we haven’t played up to our abilities and we’re halfway there,” said Gausman, who is nursing a bruised ankle. “We think we’ve been pretty good the way we’ve played, especially against good teams. We feel we elevate our game when we play against good teams.

While there is an urgent need to right the ship, it has been a challenge for a team battling exhaustion over 18 games in 17 days. Forcing the problem isn’t the solution either, as recent unruly at-bats have shown.

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As a guy who’s navigated baseball as well as anyone, Springer knows when it’s paramount for a team to play their best. He also thinks the lessons learned can pay off quite a bit.

“I would say we learned from the good and we learned from the bad,” Springer said. “We understand what it takes to get through the good and the bad and I think we all have a pretty good understanding as a team of what we are capable of.

“I don’t think we’ve done it as a whole yet. I think we have a long way to go before we hit full throttle. But that’s the good part of this game. We play so many games that a gradual climb to where we’d like to be…obviously you want to have some sense of urgency but you don’t want to panic at the same time.

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Overall, the 44-37 record is tied for the 11th best mark in 81 games – not bad, but not what we expected. For context, that’s one win better than last year’s mark, a season in which the team took off in August and September.

That sustained sizzle streak has yet to happen in 2022, but the Jays have put them in a position where they might need it to have a wild ride.

“It seems like at first it was the throwing that gave us a chance and then it was the offense that gave us a chance,” manager Charlie Montoyo said of the uneven season so far. “We haven’t really put it all together.

“It hasn’t happened, which makes me feel good because it will happen and when it does you know what will happen. We will take off.

The Jays’ schedule has been as tough as any in the league and is in a current ridiculous streak that has seen them play five games in 72 hours at home and then fly across the continent to face the A’s on Monday night.

“The AL East is not easy to play,” Springer said. “And when you look at what the Yankees are doing, what the Rays are doing, and what the Red Sox are doing, our schedule hasn’t been favorable.

“It’s okay. It’s supposed to be. It’s the major leagues.

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