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Putting the Blue Jays’ record in context

How does it historically compare to every other Blue Jays season?

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

It comes as no surprise that the Blue Jays were officially eliminated from postseason contention Sunday — if anything, it’s a miracle that it didn’t happen sooner. Toronto remained eligible for October partly thanks to a “strong” July and August — better than the rest of the year, at the very least — but it also may have saved the Blue Jays from one of the worst seasons in franchise history.

Right now, the Blue Jays’ record is 55-85, or .393. If the Blue Jays end the season with that record, 2019 will be the fifth-worst 100-plus-game season in franchise history, and the first sub-.400 season since 1995.

The Blue Jays have finished below .400 in seasons of 100 or more games only four times before.

  • 1977: 54-107, .335.
  • 1978: 59-102, .366.
  • 1979: 53-109, .327 (worst 100+ game season in franchise history).
  • 1995: 56-88, .389 (strike shortened; still played 144 games).

The Blue Jays finished the first half of 1981 with a record of .276, but the season was shortened by a strike and played out in two halves. The first half of the season — far worse than the latter — was just 58 games. For the purposes of this article, only seasons of 100 or more games were considered.

So how close is this team to becoming Toronto’s worst? The Blue Jays have 22 games left to play. It’s impossible for the 2019 Blue Jays to have a worse record than the 1977 and 1979 team, and far-fetched that Toronto will win just four games over the next 22, which would put this team on par with the 1978 team. The 2019 Blue Jays may take the fourth-worst spot from the 1995 team, given that they sit at an almost identical record now.

In order for the 2019 team to avoid becoming the fourth team in franchise history to lose 100 or more games, the Blue Jays have to win at least 8 games over the next 22 — again, a low bar. If they can accomplish that much — ending up with a record of 63-99 — they would end with an identical winning percentage to the 1995 team.

At the very least, it looks likely that the 2019 team will be fifth worst in franchise history. But how good could they be?

If the Blue Jays win all 22 games remaining this season, they’d end up with a record of 77-85, or .475. Of course, that will never happen. Toronto’s best month was April, when they played at a pace of .480, so if we take that as the Blue Jays’ ceiling over the next 22 games, the best record they can end up with is 66-96. Working out to a .407 win percentage, that would still put the Blue Jays at fifth-worst in franchise history.

So, as the Blue Jays face the final 22 games of the season, there isn’t much left to be decided. Regardless of how they play (assuming it’s within the normal realm of possibility), the 2019 team’s fate as the fifth-worst team in franchise history is essentially set.