Ok I will admit it, this season has started unbelievably bad for the new look and revamped Toronto Blue Jays. I have wanted to throw my television through the window on numerous occasions and much worse when I took in the game debacle in person on Sunday. The Blue Jays can’t hit, the starters are getting shelled and the defence has looked horrendous.
In short, this team has been bad.
There is no other way to say it and sometimes you just have to call it how it is. But we have to keep in mind that this isn’t the NFL where a 2-5 start is actually reason for concern, in baseball land the Blue Jays have played 4.3% of the scheduled games.
There wouldn’t be anything said about Usain Bolt at the 4.3 metre mark or Tiger Woods at hole #3 in the first round of the Masters. There would be no beer spilled if Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn’t leading after lap #21 of the Daytona 500 and Montreal wouldn’t riot if Georges St. Pierre was slightly behind at the 1:07 mark of the first round.
In other words the sun will come out tomorrow, in baseball there is always another day. That’s not to say that some of the concerns or worries aren’t valid. This hasn’t looked very much like a baseball team ready to take on the world.
I have written about the question marks surrounding the depth of the offensive attack, specifically the five thru nine hitters as the line-up is currently comprised. This isn’t being negative but the fact remains that there are definite red flags when considering the expected production from Adam Lind, Maicer Izturis, Emilio Bonifacio, Henry Blanco, Mark DeRosa and even Colby Rasmus.
This is a line-up that simply cannot afford injuries (Bautista, Lawrie) or many extended slumps (Encarnacion) to any of the key pieces if the team expects to remain competitive all season. Jose Reyes has done his part, and then some, but the big boppers behind him have all been struggling pretty mightily up to this point.
Brett Lawrie will be a welcome addition but he hasn’t aggressively swung a bat for weeks and my guess is he won’t join the club until May. Lawrie’s return will be welcomed as the Jays need his glove and presence in the line-up to push everyone else to their rightful place and role on the team.
Perhaps a bigger concern is the complete inability for any of the Blue Jays starting pitchers to piece together any consistent innings in a row. RA Dickey’s struggles have been well documented and there are some who are questioning whether he is in fact ‘ace material’.
He has a solid track record so some of the worries are unfounded but this is a different division, ballpark and more offensive league. The Blue Jays gave up two of the better young players in their farm system and while it has only been two starts (and various spring appearances) I would be lying if I wasn’t also a touch nervous about what type of pitcher he can be.
Josh Johnson was definitely not consistent with his command in his Blue Jays regular season debut (1.83 WHIP) while Mark Buerhle is a pitch to contact (i.e. lacks strikeout ability) soft tossing lefty who is playing in front of a defence that lacks any confidence whatsoever.
Possibly due to familiarity I have less concerns overall with Brandon Morrow and J.A. Happ but again both have had either injury or performance concerns of their own in the past.
What is most frustrating is the manner in which we are losing. The Blue Jays have been getting beat handily in quite a few of the games and some of the scores versus Cleveland (and even today versus Detroit) haven’t captured just how out of the game we were.
Look there is a lot of time to right the ship and every team in every sport in every league will have a stretch where they win two games and lose five. Those panicking after a mere 4.3% of the games are a tad on the ridiculous side. However I can see why there are some genuine concerns being voiced by even the more reasonable and rationale fans.
They aren’t hitting (nor should they be expected to with some of the line-ups they have rolled out), the knuckleball hasn’t been knuckling and the defence has been laughable. This has probably been the absolute worst-case scenario in terms of a start but the good news is baseball statistics always tend to regress to the mean.
The Blue Jays might have been slightly overrated heading into the season but there is no way Edwin Encarnacion hits .075 or R.A. Dickey has a 99.99 ERA – in other words there is only one way to go from here.
Stick around, this is just getting started. There is still 95.7% of the season to be played – a pretty sizeable portion no?