The last few weeks in Toronto baseball fandom have been wrought with panic, disgust, panic, vitriol, hope, and more panic. I must be looking at the current Blue Jays season a little cockeyed, because I'm not particularly worried. I say that because a lot of what's transpired so far (in my mind) comes down to bad luck. Sloppy defence and a lack of scoring hasn't helped anything, but let's cherry-pick and what-if for a moment.
As of this writing, the Blue Jays' record stands at 9-15, putting them last in the very tough AL East, 8.5 games behind the first place Boston Red Sox. Their run differential is -34, good for 28th in the league. The only teams behind them in that category are Houston and Miami.
In their 9 wins this season, they have outscored their opponent 55-33, with an average run differential per game of +2.4. In their losses, they have been outscored 38-94, with an average run differential per game of -3.7.
Here's where we cherry-pick. Two of those losses were blow-outs, April 7th when they lost 13-0 to Boston, and April 11th when they lost to the Tigers 11-1. Take those two games out of the equation and the run differential goes from -34 to -11. Sure, that doesn't sparkle, but it's much nicer to look at. Their run differential per game average moves up from -3.7 to -2.4.
Now for the what-ifs: the Jays have played in 9 one-run games, and have been on the losing end of 6 of those contests. What if those one-run losses were one-run wins? Their record jumps to 15-9, with a run differential of -22.
Let's take it one step further - what if those blow-outs never happened AND the one-run losses were one-run wins? The Jays would be 15-7, good for second place, half a game behind the (now) 16-7 Red Sox, and their run differential would be +1. PLAYOFFS!!1!
Alas, run differential doesn't decide the standings, and anyone could what-if any team into first place. The reality is that the Jays are 9-15, they are getting outscored by a metric buttload and if they don't win the World Series, the Baseball Gods will descend from where they reside on Mount Kinesaw Mountain Landis Landing and cut off the thumbs of all Blue Jays fans, so yeah. Go panic.