Blue Jays' offense bearing fine numbers

Blue Jays' offense bearing fine numbers

Blue Jays' offense bearing fine numbers
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are about to enter the second half of the season sitting in last place in the American League East and without three of five starters that were on the Opening Day roster.

Entering Monday's action, the Blue Jays were just 2 1/2 games out of the final Wild-Card spot and are the only last place team with a positive run differential. In fact, not one team in the Majors that is in second to last has scored more runs than it has given up.

Remaining competitive through the first portion of the year has largely been a byproduct of the club's offense in the eyes of manager John Farrell.

"We have an outstanding offense, the numbers bear that out," Farrell said. "Our performance has shown that and for a good stretch here, has shown that routinely and consistently."

The bats have been especially hot recently, as the Blue Jays have scored in double digits four times since June 10, after only managing that feat twice in all of their previous games. Over their past five games, the Blue Jays have hit at least two home runs in every contest and are averaging seven runs per game.

Led by All-Star slugger Jose Bautista, and his Major League-leading 26 home runs, the Blue Jays are one of only three teams in baseball to have hit 100 homers -- trailing only the Yankees in that category. Toronto sits third in runs scored, sixth in slugging and seventh in OPS.

Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion have hit more long balls than any duo in all of baseball with 48.

But the offense can only do so much, and with Brandon Morrow, who was morphing into the team's ace, injured, along with youngsters Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison, the Blue Jays have been faced with some early-season adversity.

"We have a very good offense and everyday team, and yet we are still looking for ways to gain consistency on the mound," Farrell said.

Blue Jays pitchers have the third-highest ERA in the AL and are second from the bottom in the AL in opponents' slugging and OPS.

"To a man, I don't think they think anything is insurmountable in terms of a challenge thrown their way," Farrell said. "We have had the need to make changes because of those injuries and it has caused some unsettledness with the pitching staff. Of late, the offense has clearly been a strength. Pitching side of it, we are working through some challenges to find the right combinations on a given night."

One positive for the staff is that Morrow has begun a throwing program, and although no date has been set for his return, the news is encouraging for a rotation that has been grinding during his absence.