Before every season of Blue Jays baseball begins, the importance of beating division rivals is repeated ad nauseam when looking at the upcoming year. This year the team's record against the American League East is a lowly 25-41, while they are at least .500 against every other AL division and the National League. As is the case every year when looking at these numbers, the thought creeps into your mind whether this team would actually be competing for a playoff spot in another division. Unfortunately Toronto is stuck with the AL East for the foreseeable future although the struggles may not be as widespread as they seem.
Against half of the division the Blue Jays are keeping their head above water, as their record against AL East leaders Boston is 7-9, while they have a fair 8-8 record against the Orioles. The trouble is against the other two teams in the division as Tampa Bay dominates them to the tune of a 6-10 record. Even still, an optimistic Blue Jays fan could accept that some teams just have the Blue Jays' number and that the .375 winning percentage against the Rays could be overcome. That might be feasible if they weren't 4-14 against the New York Yankees going into tonight's game. You read that correctly, the team that has starters such as Vernon Wells, Chris Stewart, and Lyle Overbay has beaten the Blue Jays nearly 80% of the time this season. If the Blue Jays were able to find a way to fight off the demons of Yankee Stadium and manage to be .500 against the Yankees so far this year the team's record would actually be only 74-77, which while still bad is not as horrible as the 69-82 mark they currently have.
When you look at the games the two teams have played this season, nothing extraordinary stands out about the match-ups as a lot of the games have been decided by one or two runs. The struggles could be chalked up to bad luck, but that theory doesn't hold as much water when you realize that the Blue Jays haven't had a winning season against the Yankees since 2010.
A more believable theory is that the Blue Jays poor starting pitching isn't good enough to take on the Yankees in their bandbox of a stadium. In 2012, the young pitching staff of the Blue Jays struggled in New York and it led to a 2-7 record against the Yankees in their stadium. This year it's been even more dreadful with Toronto taking the field 10 times in the Bronx and coming away with a total of zero wins. Playing double digits amount of games in a stadium and coming away with nothing makes it pretty hard to be in a playoff chase.
The Blue Jays struggles against division rivals is nothing new and this year has been no different from years past in that regard. There's no easy solution to the problem of not being able to win in places like Yankee Stadium, but it's an issue that should be remembered next season as the Blue Jays try to take the next step against their division foes. What do you think is the issue for the Blue Jays against the Yankees and is their any way to fix the struggles they have had on huge stages such as Yankee Stadium?