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Troy Tulowitzki will help Toronto Blue Jays, but they still need pitching

Troy Tulowitzki had played the first 1,048 games of his major league career with Colorado Rockies. Only three of those had came at the Rogers Centre in Toronto, so it had to feel strange suiting up in new colors, in a new stadium, in a different league and in a position he had never hit in the lineup before: leadoff.

Tulowitzki had said he felt "blindsided" by the trade to the Toronto Blue Jays. Maybe he'll feel better after seeing the way the ball flies at Rogers Centre, kind of the Coors Field of the American League. After striking out against Jerome Williams of the Phillies in his first at-bat, he launched a 460-foot home run off an 0-2 fastball in the third inning, an 88-mph meatball that was as a bad pitch as you can throw on an 0-2 count. But, hey, Tulowitzki still had to connect.

He would add two doubles later in the game -- an 8-2 win for the Blue Jays -- to go 3-for-5. Get those No. 2 jerseys to the team store ASAP, Blue Jays marketing people, because they're going to start flying off the racks.

Some questioned the trade, not so much for what Toronto gave up, but because it didn't address the team's biggest need: Starting pitching, where the Blue Jays rank 23rd in the majors and 12th in the AL in ERA. One of those was Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista, who had said "As a pure baseball move, there are upgrades in different areas. Maybe not necessarily what we need but it is an upgrade if you want to look at it that way."

The media blew that up as Bautista being critical of the deal; I didn't necessarily read it as being critical of the deal as much as wondering if it was the best way to improve the team. Bautista took to social media to clarify his comment:

Look, the Jays can use more offense. Yes, they lead the majors in runs scored. But check out their home/road splits:

Home: .279/.350/.484 (second to the Rockies in wOBA)

Road: .250/.313/.406 (sixth in the majors in wOBA)

It's a far less imposing offense on the road. And keep in mind that most of the AL East teams play in good hitter's parks, so if you park-adjusted that road wOBA, the Toronto is even less of a powerhouse attack away from Rogers Centre. So if Tulowitzki hits, he'll help. A run added is as valuable as a run saved.

There's also this. Look at how many games the MLB leader in runs scored won the past 10 seasons:

2014: 98

2013: 97

2012: 93

2011: 90

2010: 95

2009: 103

2008: 79

2007: 94

2006: 97

2005: 95

There's also this: The Blue Jays have outscored their opponents by 100 runs, the second-highest figure in the majors, despite which they're just .500 at 51-51. That doesn't necessarily mean they're due for better luck; after all, those games are in the bank. It could suggest, however, that the true talent level of the Jays is better than a .500 team. Their biggest failings have come in the middle innings: They're 44-0 when leading after eight innings but they've lost nine games when leading after six innings, four more than the MLB average of five such losses. That suggests picking up another reliever (they did get LaTroy Hawkins in the Tulowitzki trade) could also be beneficial.

Of course, Bautista and others might point out to this study by Dave Cameron of FanGraphs and Fox Sports. He looked at offense-first teams with a run differential similar to the Blue Jays. He found 25 such playoff teams since 2002. How did those teams fare in the postseason? None of them won the World Series:

"You know how many even made it to the World Series? Just four: the 2006 Tigers, 2007 Rockies, 2008 Rays, and 2009 Phillies. Those four teams combined to go 4-16 in the World Series, by the way. The recent postseason history of offense-over-defense teams -- at the Blue Jays' current level -- isn't particularly encouraging."

As Cameron suggests, that doesn't mean this team is doomed to failure. It does suggest that maybe Bautista is right: They still need some pitching help.

Reports say Toronto is still looking for a starter. Felix Doubront, who had made four starts in July, was designated for assignment to clear room for Tulowitzki on the roster, so the team will need a starter for Doubront's scheduled start on Sunday. Maybe Alex Anthoupolos is planning on landing a starter at the trade deadline.

Even if they do get one, the Yankees remain the heavy favorite in the division. A seven-game lead with two months remaining is pretty commanding, so the Jays are more or less playing for a wild card. Although they do still have 13 games remaining against the Yankees. Those may decide not just the AL East but whether the Jays end the longest playoff drought in the majors.

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