Reality hit home for the Blue Jays on Monday night when they entered their date against the host Brewers one win shy of reaching the .500 level.

After falling to a season-high six games before the break-even total on May 27, a 14-11 loss in Detroit remembered for a three-run walk-off homer allowed by Jordan Romano, the Jays played some decent baseball against some of the game’s lesser lights.

Still, they did go 9-4, the highlight being the team’s four-game split against Baltimore.

The soft part of the schedule has been replaced by a tough stretch, which kicked off in the home of the cheeseheads.

It’s the start of a difficult 19-game slate against quality opposition.

The start itself did not go well for the Jays, who were simply outplayed, outpitched and outhit in a 3-1 Brewers win.

Jose Berrios paid dearly for a couple of pitches that caught too much of the plate, two pitches that quickly landed in the seats on solo belts.

The Jays reverted to their hitless ways, managing to produce four hits, which included a home run and a bunt single.

A fourth would be produced on a two-out single in the ninth inning.

It’s one thing to play average baseball against inferior foes such as the Chicago White Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates and Oakland Athletics and post series wins.

It’s quite another when playing a team such as the Brewers, when the smallest detail has to be executed.

The Jays must be way better knowing the competition is immeasurably better.

Better they step up or they will be even deeper below the .500 level once this stretch is completed.


Fluid is one word to describe the Jays’ lineup.

Another that comes to mind is futile.

For the first time, Monday’s lineup featured Davis Schneider at leadoff followed by Spencer Horwitz, who batted in the No. 2 hole in Oakland.

The days of seeing George Springer’s name in the top of the order should be over, the evidence too compelling to suggest anything else.

Schneider was in left field, while Horwitz made his third straight start at second.

In Toronto’s first at-bats, Horwitz reached base on a one-out double, his first two-bagger since his callup.

Then came his first gaffe.

For reasons that defy credulity, he tried to take third on a ground ball hit to short.

In other words, the ball was hit to his right and obviously in clear sight.

There was no way Horwitz was going to take third base and he was easily tagged out.

It was a bad mental mistake, the kind that cannot be repeated.

Offensively, having Schneider and Horwitz at the top of the order makes plenty of sense because both are contact hitters.

The key is to avoid running into outs.

While there’s plenty to like about Schneider, playing the outfield is not one of his strengths.

Milwaukee scored its third run on a sac fly to left.

The Brewers possess speed, but Schneider’s throw, which was not good, would have allowed a Daniel Vogelbach-like runner to score.

It was that bad.


One has to rewind the clock to April 28 when the L.A. Dodgers were at Rogers Centre to find the last time Alejandro Kirk went yard.

When Kirk is at his best, his ability to go deep complements his work behind the plate, especially when it comes to framing pitches.

For far too long, Kirk has been a black hole in the lineup.

Along comes a moment produced in the third inning at American Family Field and Kirk’s power presence shines.

In this case, he demolished a pitch that went deep into left as the Jays opened the scoring.

The blast generated an exit velocity of 110 mph.

An inning later, Kirk saw Jackson Chourio tie the game by smashing his seventh homer of the season.

One batter earlier, Jake Bauers hit a lead-off single.

He would get picked off just prior to Chourio’s belt.

In theory, the Bauers blunder cost the Brewers a run.

The night’s third home run would be recorded when Willy Adames crushed a one-out offering in the fourth inning as Berrios yielded his second solo blast to give Milwaukee a 2-1 advantage.


It was a homecoming for Daulton Varsho, one of baseball’s elite outfielders and one of its smartest.

In Sunday’s series finale in Oakland, it was Varsho’s steal of third base that led to Schneider’s sac fly that tied the game.

Had Varsho not shown such headiness, the Jays would have likely lost the game and the series.

With one out in the fifth against the Brewers, Varsho reached base on a bunt, his second of the season.

One batter later, Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit into an inning-ending double play.

Varsho attended Marshfield High School in central Wisconsin.

He stayed in-state for his college days when Varsho enrolled at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.


As the search for a fifth starter continues, some clarity may arrive as early as Tuesday when Yariel Rodriguez, who made four starts with the big-league club in April, is scheduled to pitch for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons in his latest rehab outing.

It could be the last.

The Jays must decide on the fate of Rodriguez, who pitched a total of 15.1 innings when used as the No. 5 starter.

In his four starts, the Jays went 3-1.

His final start came on April 29.

The very next day Rodriguez was deactivated due to thoracic spine inflammation.

Alek Manoah’s season-ending elbow injury has created a void.

In Sunday’s series finale in Oakland, Bowden Francis went four scoreless innings.

It’s not clear what path the Jays intend to take, but they do have options, including Rodriguez and Francis used in a piggyback combo.

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