Brett Lawrie in a 2014 Blue Jays at Orioles game. CC via Flickr by Keith Allison.

September has arrived and that means the culmination of a long, arduous 162 game season of Major League Baseball. The month of September often provides the most exciting baseball, as teams on the cusp of the postseason try to prepare their team for a late season playoff run. September baseball provides a glimpse of the contenders and showcases what it takes to outperform and outlast the competition in October to win the World Series.

The Toronto Blue Jays are facing this challenge right now, having just lost a series to their division rival the Boston Red Sox. Before the month of September began, the Blue Jays had a two-game lead in the AL East over the Red Sox, and teams like the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees seemed out of contention.

But after being swept by the Yankees, dropping two of three to the Tampa Bay Rays, and losing the series to the Red Sox this weekend, the Jays are now two games back of Boston in the AL East and tied with the Orioles. Even worse to imagine for Jays fans is that teams like the Yankees, the Detroit Tigers, and the Houston Astros are all within striking distance.

Throughout the season, the one constant has been the Jays’ brilliant starting pitching. However, during the road trip, the Blue Jays starters were 2–4, with a 4.59 ERA. During this rough patch, the starters averaged just a little over five innings and were punished by big innings, allowing 20-of-27 starter runs in just eight of the 49 innings.

Couple that with only scoring 35 runs during this nine game stretch and poor defense from the infielders and centre fielder Kevin Pillar, and there is cause for concern.

Despite the lacklustre performance, the Blue Jays are by no means out of it. They need to start manufacturing runs by incorporating some small ball and getting players like Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion to swing not for the fences, but rather to right field, aiming for base hits.

So, to all the doubters out there, it is not time to panic. But the Jays will have to bounce back after the series against the Boston Red Sox this weekend, in order to have a viable shot at winning the division.

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