The Good Ship Blue Jay has hit the September iceberg and is sinking fast, with nary a Coast Guard cutter in sight.
The team ended August by winning five of six (including two out of three against Baltimore) and have gone completely off course since. So far in September, the once first-place Blue Crew has lost every series against AL East competition. It started with losing two-of-three in Tampa, then getting swept by the Yankees in the Bronx.
A six-game home stand produced two wins, one each against Boston and Tampa, again. Only by the grace of an unseen deity are the Jays still in a wild card playoff spot after going 3-9 this month. You can already hear the feet hitting the asphalt as casual fans jump off the bandwagon.
But, you know what, a lot of what is happening was foretold after the ALCS loss to Kansas City, Alex Anthopolous’ departure and a host of other distractions.
There are many reasons the Jays are blowing up in September. Here are 15 we believe had led to this miserable month and an early exit.
When Mark Shapiro was hired as president of the Jays, all signs pointed to the Jays becoming Cleveland North. Having built this team into a contender, AA thought better of having to work under Shapiro and turned down the opportunity to continue on as GM. In hindsight, that was probably a good decision. However, Anthopoulos is a very smart man who knew the Jays’ players and its minor league system to the minutest details. We can’t say that about Shapiro and new GM Russ Atkins, at least not yet. AA was also unafraid to make the big move, to wheel and deal like a champ, while his successors have been way to cautious (we’ll chat about that later). We think that the Anthopoulos untimely withdrawal was the first crack in the ship’s metal plating.