The secret

When searching for answers regarding the Jays’ demise this year, one need not look further than the team’s failure to hit with runners in scoring position.

But the thing is, it wasn’t always bad.

Through 41 games, the Jays owned a 27-14 record and a three-game lead atop the AL East division. Yes, those were the good old days. It’s not a coincidence that during that stretch Toronto was hitting well with runners in scoring position. That’s what winning teams do.

In those 41 contests, the Jays had posted a .305 (124-for-406) average in those situations. So they were certainly on a good pace. After all, that bests the .303 mark that the Angels have posted with RISP on the season to lead the American League entering action today.

But then the team opened an infamous nine-game road trip on May 19 in Boston. It could be argued that that game against Tim Wakefield and the Red Sox was the beginning of the end. They lost all nine road contests and returned home with a record of 27-23.

Of course, the thing that stood out on that trip was the Jays’ inability to cash in runners. In other words, their numbers with runners in scoring position was atrocious — .185 (15-for-81), to be exact. And that was including a 5-for-10 showing in Game 9, which they lost 12-10 to the Orioles.

And it hasn’t been much better since. Overall, the club owned a .254 mark with RISP entering action Sunday (third-worst in the AL). That meant they had hit a meagre .213 (107-for-503) since getting out to that quick 27-14 start to the season.

On Sunday? The Jays finished 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position and won, 5-1, in the series finale over the Tampa Bay Rays.

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