Injuries have finally taken the Blue Jays down and messed up whatever chance they may have had of making the postseason. Yet other teams have had injuries as well and have held up better than the Jays.
The bulk of the Jays' problems come down to pitching. A couple of glaring stats stand out. The Jays lead the American League in walks issued with 374. If you look at the five teams curently holding down playoff spots in the American League, only one - the Angels - has given up more than 300 (337).
In their own division, the Yankees have given up 289 walks - 85 fewer than the Jays. Even the Oakland A's with their relatively young and inexperienced staff have only surrended 315 bases on balls.
In strikeouts, the picture is similar. The Jays have 734. Of the teams holding playoff spots, only the A's have fewer with 711.
The Blue Jays' team ERA is 12th in the American at 4.56 - nearly half a run higher than the league average of 4.10. They've given up 502 runs, third worst in the American League.
Yes, the ungodly number of injuries play into this. An over-taxed bullpen is also a major factor. No doubt, Ricky Romero's control problems have factored in as well.
Adding arms such as Brad Lincoln, Steve Delabar, Brandon Lyon and J.A Happ should help marginally, but if the Jays are going anywhere next season they've got add at least one, possibly two quality starters before next season.
The Jays do have a wealth of quality pitching prospects at Lansing in "A" ball, but they won't be ready by next season. Using stop-gap journeymen next year to patch things up will only result in another promising season gone wrong.
There's two teams to watch in the National League. The Arizona Diamondbacks only have a record three games better than the Jays, yet they are only two games back of first place San Francisco. The D-Backs know what it takes to win having been to the postseason a year ago and of their remaining games, nearly half are against teams with sub-.500 records.
The defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals are just four games back of Atlanta and that second Wild Card slot. Yes the same Atlanta club they over-hauled a year ago. This time the Redbirds are even closer than they were a year ago. If they don't catch the Braves, it just might be the Pirates who remind me a bit of the Padres of a couple of years ago, who faded just enough down the stretch to allow the Giants to win the West.
WATCH BOSTON'S MOVE
An interesting trade at the deadline that you might not have noticed. Boston shipped first base prospect Lars Anderson to Cleveland for pitcher Steve Wright.
Wright is a knuckleballer. In fact the only one in pro baseball this season besides Mets star R.A Dickey's. The Red Sox clearly hoping they've found the next Tim Wakefield.
The Tigers' Justin Verlander had a remarkable streak of 63 games in a row in which he pitched at least six innings halted this week. Since 1920, only four pitchers including Verlander have had a streak like that. Verlander went 40-12 over that span.
The other three include the late "Catfish" Hunter, "Lefty" Steve Carlton and Cardinals legend Bob Gibson (who leads the pack with a 78-game streak over which he went 46-24).
I'd still say if I had to have one game I had to win, I'd give the ball to Bob Gibson.