LONGLEY: Blue Jays need to ditch the streaks and let the good times roll

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Matt Chapman wants to be as optimistic as Blue Jays fans are about his team’s recent play.

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He wants to believe that a 6-1 run in the first two stops of a 10-game three-city road trip can propel the team toward the type of September it sparked last season.

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And more than anything, the Jays’ excellent third baseman hopes the valleys that have limited the team’s potential so far in 2022 are behind them.

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But Chapman, baseball sage that he is, knows better than to assume it will just play out that way.

“I don’t want to stray too far from ourselves because it seems every time we stay there we start to lose a few games,” Chapman said this week in Baltimore, where the Jays outscored the Orioles. thriving by winning three of four, including a double-headed sweep on Labor Day.

“But I really like the way we’re playing baseball right now. It is enormous. If we can play games like this in September consistently, we’ll like where we end up.

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Chapman’s desire is for the final streak to not just be a series of good fortunes, but a series of solid, well-balanced plays.

To that end, in a sweep of the Pirates followed by critical humiliation of the O’s – which established a 4.5-game bulge atop the American League wildcard race – the Jays played as complete as they got. have done all season.

Sure, the offense lagged a bit in Pittsburgh — and even sometimes in Baltimore where runners were left on bases in clusters. But starting and relief pitchers have been excellent (minus fifth in the rotation) and defensively the Jays have shown some of the solid form they’ll need in about four weeks.

“What would be nice,” Chapman says, “is if we continue to play full baseball for more than a six-game streak. But I like how we follow trends and I feel that the guys are really into it right now.

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“We just have to remember that just after winning six of seven in Boston and New York, we gave up two straight home streaks.”

Most remember that turnaround, of course, in part because it was typical of a 2022 season that had yet to reach its full potential – or at best, had yet to play with measured consistency. . Since July 22, the Jays have gone 8-2, 3-9, 7-1, 1-3 and now the current streak of 6-1.

Reflecting this uneven form, the Jays remain relatively long to win the World Series. Bookmaker Bodog has them at 16-1, tied with the Rays as the eighth pick.

On the plus side, the Jays are at least showing signs of repeating what they did when they kicked off a spirited run in September a year ago, picking up eight straight wins on their way to a start in 12-1 months.

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The 2022 edition has now moved to 5-1 for September after Thursday’s matchday against another weak opponent Texas Rangers. It was certainly a nice change of tone from the 13-14 record in August, which tended the Jays to be mediocre rather than competitive.

But back to Chapman’s point, there’s no room for disappointment, much like the return of the New York-Boston stoppages when they were swept away at home by the lowly Angels.

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There are definitely some positives to take from the latest streak, however, not least with how they exposed the weaknesses of an Orioles team that had the Jays’ number earlier in the season and opted for the jugular. while they were there.

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“I think everyone on this team works hard and everyone wants this team to be great,” Manoah said after his last great outing when he allowed an earned run in eight innings against the O’s on Wednesday. “I think there were times during the year where we hit on different cylinders, but I feel like right now they’re starting to hit together.”

Meanwhile, if the Jays mind their own business in Texas, it sets the stage for manager John Schneider’s team to mind their own business.

Six of the remaining eight series will be against AL East opponents, including nine games against the Rays, who are chasing the top AL wildcard spot and seven against the Orioles, who are now 4.5 games behind. the third and final spot, currently held by the Jays.

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The first of those against the Rays — a five-game, four-day blitz starting Monday at Rogers Center — turns into three more against the O’s. Most likely, the ranking will change frequently over the next three weeks.

“All teams have their ups and downs,” receiver Alejandro Kirk said through translator Hector Lebron. “We are fine no and we feel good. We’ll keep coming out and see what happens.

PEARSON IMPRESSES

Nate Pearson’s comeback bid continued on Thursday when he pitched a clean inning (and victory) for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons with his fastball hitting 100 mph. The Jays will have to see a lot more from the 26-year-old, however, as Pearson remains far from returning to the big team roster this season.

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