It seriously has become hard to turn the TV on every night to watch the Blue Jays recently. It's not to be negative because there seriously is reason to believe that this team should be among the best in the entire Major Leagues.
What makes it so grueling is exact this point. Players who are supposed to be so much better are struggling and struggling mightily. Last year's team was in nearly the same situation in terms of wins and losses at this point, but there seemed to be undoubtedly less panic because, at least from the outside, greatness wasn't expected.
This year is a different story. With the roster composition and a playoff appearance under its belt, winning becomes the only expectation for this club. Maybe the representative for this sentiment is Troy Tulowitzki. Since arriving in Toronto last July, Tulo hasn't been himself. I say himself because he hasn't even been a form of himself. Nearly no time in his career has he been this bad.
I'm sure this is no surprise to anyone reading this. Prior to arriving in Toronto, Tulowitzki was fresh off a 2014 season where he hit .340/.432/.603. If he produced that line North of the border, I have no doubt that the city would resurrect a statute for the man. That said, his 2015 season was a massive drop off, hitting .300/.348/.471 before coming to Toronto and watching that fall even further to .239/.317/.380. But he was an incredible defender so when the slugging Jays made the postseason, most were just grateful they didn't have to watch the ball roll through the legs of Jose Reyes anymore.
Everyone assumed, with a new season and more time for him to develop an understanding for his trade, Tulowitzki would get back to his old self. Unfortunately, they were wrong. In the month of April Tulowitzki recorded just a .169 batting average to go with a dreadful 69 wRC+. Something had to give right?
Well it seems, of late anyways, that Tulo has finally turned that corner. In his last seven games he's hit .333/.364/.714 and more importantly dropped his strikeout rate to 22.7 per cent which is 0.1 per cent within his career norm. Sure, his BABIP sits at a likely unsustainable .357, but who cares, Tulo needed a streak of luck like that. His BABIP on the season still sits at .215 so even a week of luck on balls in play didn't make a considerable difference to his overall bad luck on the season.
With how bad the Jays were this week, you could almost give the Blue Jay of the week to Troy for his performance during the break of what was a horrific five-game losing streak. Tulowitzki was only 1-for-5 on the night but that one hit turned out to bring in the game winning run in the top of the 11th inning. This also doesn't mention his defensive efforts that place him sixth among American League shortstops according to Fangraphs. At night's end, he ended up contributing 0.163 WPA to the team's 20th victory of the season. That can't be ignored.
Of course, this is just one week in the marathon that is the Major League Baseball season. There's still many twists and turns left, hills to climb and pacing to maintain. But in the last week Tulowitzki did make up some ground on his fellow competitors and is well on his way to achieving the runner's high that is his confidence at the plate. Let's hope he doesn't he doesn't fall short of that.