Monday, April 20, 2009

14 Games In

Well, we're about 9% of the way through baseball season, and sitting 1st overall in the American League, and 3rd overall in the Majors are... The Toronto Blue Jays?

Go Jays Go!

Obviously, it's still FAR too early to plan the parade route, but I was looking at their record the other day...

Last night's win vs Oakland was their narrowest and lowest-scoring win yet. 1-0. It obviously doesn't get any smaller than that. Their next lowest-scoring was 4-2 the day before.

Let's look at their 10 wins

12-5 vs DET
5-4 vs DET
6-2 vs DET
13-7 vs CLE
5-4 vs CLE
8-6 vs MIN
12-2 vs MIN
9-2 vs MIN
4-2 vs OAK
1-0 vs OAK

And their 4 losses

1-5 vs DET
4-8 vs CLE
2-3 vs MIN
5-8 vs OAK

87 runs for (tops in the AL), 58 against.

Average 6.2 runs per game for, 4.1 against.

Team .290 average is the best in the AL, and second in the majors. 4th in OBP (AL), 3rd in slugging (AL). Tied for 2nd in HR.

4th in the AL for ERA, 8th in the majors. 2nd in SO in the AL, 3rd in the majors.

4th in the AL for earned runs, much worse in the majors (16th).

So, it's the hitting that's pulling them through. When they score, they tend to score big. When they don't, they lose.

But the pitching has picked up lately. This is good if the hitting stays on pace, but the Jays have shown over the last decade that they tend to run hot on either hitting or pitching, but seldom both simultaneously. Despite the slow start for the Yanks, Red Sox, and Rays, those are still powerhouse teams that can string together big streaks quickly. If they Jays can't manage to fire on all cylinders fairly regularly, then they'll drop to the 3rd or 4th in their division once again. The AL East is the toughest place to play in the baseball, and this could very much be a make-or-break year for the team. With Ted Rogers death, the family's interest in funding the team is being called into question. A strong showing could keep interest high. This town loves a winner, and Jays tickets are cheap, especially when comapred to the Leafs.

I said it at the start, this is a team that will rely on hitting, and lean heavily on Halladay. Litsch is injured, so that means our starting pitching is ALL question marks and young guys (except Tallet, who is a career middle reliever). If Arnsberg can cut some diamonds out of those roughs, I'll call for him to get a contract for life and perpetual pay raises. I worry about the pitching come the end of the season, but the vetran hitting corps should still be strong then to cover the exhaustion these kids will be feeling. Or maybe Marcum, Janssen, or McGowan will be able to throw some balls around by then.

Right now, it's hope and that initial high from a good start. As any Jays fan should say - talk to me in August. If we're still going strong after the all-star break and heading into the home stretch, then some honest hope for a playoff shot could come into play. Stranger things have happened.

And if they do make the playoffs? It will all be thanks to the coaching staff, and players willing to listen.

1 comment:

BamBam said...

I've been sort of 'outta' Baseball since the last of the last, last strikes. But honestly when I read the line-up for 2009, the Jays almost got me interested again.

For the opposite reason you bring up.

See, I'm thinking the young arms are exactly what they needed. Hitters get motivated, when they know they have to hit to componsate. Young Pitchers will indeed struggle at the start. They need to "un-learn" and then really learn how their new catcher is calling the game.

But they're keen and even more importantly, they're young! I think the 4.1 runs against is awesome for such a young crew!

My guess is, they'll only get better as they start to really learn what's going on. That could come in handy, when everyone else is a little worn down from a tough schedule.

We'll see.

I'd hate to get all interested and shite, only to have ownership bail out on a management team that is IMHO, second to none in the league.