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Who needs to step up the most for the Blue Jays?

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Jonathan Daniel

With the season almost one month from expiring on the Blue Jays, it's pretty much life support time for their playoff hopes. If the team is going to go on an epic run and make it interesting, it's probably going to take a few of the players getting hotter than California in July to pull it off. With almost every Blue Jay underperforming  at the moment, what better time to pick which player (or players) on the team need to step up their game for September to not be the usual depressing set of meaningless games that we've come to expect as Blue Jays fans.

On the pitching side of the ledger you can throw a dart at the starting rotation and hit someone who needs to pick up their game for the team to have any chance in the next month. Each of the five members of the rotation had four starts in August and their ERA's were 4.07 (Happ), 4.94 (Hutchison), 5.11 (Dickey), 5.68 (Buehrle), 8.66 (Stroman) so that's clearly not good enough. If you were to pinpoint two starters who should shoulder most of the burden, it would have to be the highly-paid and veteran players in R.A. Dickey and Mark Buehrle. They've got the experience (especially Buehrle) needed to right the ship and will have to lead the way if this rotation is going to start meeting the expectations set for them.

In the bullpen it begins with Casey Janssen returning to his reliable form after blowing two saves in August. If the Blue Jays are to have any chance in these last few crucial games then Janssen will have to lock the door in the ninth when the team manages to hand a lead off to him, which has been a rare occurrence as of late. Todd Redmond has been bad recently as well, but he's Todd Redmond so he's not exactly captain of the Blue Jays ship (which has already hit the iceberg and is taking on water pretty rapidly).

Offensively, you don't have to look further than the Super Smash Bros of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion when it comes to finding players who need to get hot. Bautista has been pretty mediocre recently and could be heading towards another sub-30 home run campaign. It's also starting to look like his frustrations are boiling into a big pot of unproductive rage so that's always fun. Encarnacion is 5-31 since returning from his injury, so the lineup is going to continue looking pretty soft until the big Dominican gets hitting again.

I think most Blue Jays fans would agree that EVERYONE has to step up if this team has any chance of turning around their season, but if we had to pick just one player who the teams needs to get hot, I would probably point to Edwin Encarnacion. It's all well and good if Jose Bautista starts hitting home runs again, but teams can avoid giving him any good pitches to hit if the guy behind him in the lineup is hitting below the Mendoza Line.

What say you Banterers?