Groan. In 3.2 IP Brandon Morrow gave up 9 H, 2 BB, and 5 ER. Brett Cecil, who continues to surprise, and Esmil Rogers pitched 3.1 innings of shutout ball, but Darren Oliver was touched for two runs and a couple of hits. The run was unearned because Maicer Izturis made a 3-base throwing error on a routine ground ball/throw to 1B. It was interesting to watch Oliver mutter to himself as Gibbons took him out of the game. Replacing Oliver was waiver pick-up Edgar Gonzalez, who promptly gave up a double but struck out Jhonny Peralta to end the inning. It’s worth mentioning because the Jays hadn’t struck out a single Tiger batter until Peralta went down swinging. The insurance runs did their job as the Jays counted Colby Rasmus’s 3rd HR and Adam Lind’s 2B as their only response.
There are several distinct but interrelated patterns in the early going: the pitching is suspect, the defense has been laughable, and the offense is virtually non-existent. Usually these patterns aren’t very important because sometimes a team will take a while to hit its stride. The problem is that they’ve done the baseball equivalent of Extreme Makeover, Jays Edition, yet the 2013 Jays resemble the Jays of last year and the year before that, and the year before that… They strikeout too much, they’re impatient at the plate, the home run is too prominent in their offensive strategy, and the pitching is suspect. Los Angeles is the City of Angels, Detroit is the Motor City, Toronto is the City of Frustration.
I don’t know how long I’ll say this but…it’s early. Perhaps I’m the mealy-mouthed compromiser type (actually, I like to think I’m not…), but bear with me. The brain-trust of the highly-successful Atlanta Braves, John Schuerholz, used to say that the 60-game mark was a good time to assess things. Any earlier is too early, and any later leaves too little time before the non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July.
Assuming everyone’s healthy, that’s 12 starts for each starter, a bunch of appearances by the relief corps, and probably an average of about 55 games per everyday player not named Brett Lawrie. It also leaves 102 games to tweak, fix, or overhaul. It’s a pretty reasonable time frame within which to work. Unfortunately, it doesn’t sit well with us fans. If there’s a problem we want it fixed now. Not ‘now’…RIGHT NOW. Well, as you’ve probably discovered, life doesn’t always work out like that. As a matter of fact, life doesn’t often work out like that.
Do we have any suggestions? Can we play armchair manager? The one thing I’d like to see from the Jays is greater patience at the plate. The 7th inning was typical. The Jays, facing a 3-run deficit, saw about a handful of pitches. The 8th was no better as Drew Smyly and Al Alburquerque combined to throw 12 pitches. Jose Bautista’s long fly ball against Smyly would have been a HR in most other parks so we need to recognize that, but the problem remains.
Otherwise, ‘time’ is of the essence. The Jays are 2-5, struggling, and the butt of jokes around MLB and among fans. That said, there are 53 games remaining until the 60-game mark. If the Jays are still scuffling at that point, I’ll be more concerned than I am now.