Monday, August 20, 2012

That Bird Has Flown

The Blue Jays 2012 season started full of potential, and was wiped out by injury.

I was at a game a couple weekends ago, and pointed out that only ONE of the starters had been on the opening day roster. In fact, if you added up the RBI count for all the players except Encarnacion, you had less RBIs than he did. Same deal with home runs.  If it wasn't for Rajai Davis, you could probably do the same with at-bats.

The pitcher? J.A. Happ, who we picked up just before the trade deadline.  Oddly enough, my guys won the game in an impressive and entertaining fashion.

We lost 3 starting pitchers within two weeks of each other. None have yet to return.  The starting rotation has been a revolving door of call-ups and relievers in longer roles. There have been some bright spots, but not a single starter has a winning record.

Our closer, who stank, went down early in the season. But lucky us, Casey Janssen turned out to be a hell of a finishing man. It's a shame he doesn't have more games to save.

Our bullpen, even before injuries, had 3 reliable guys in Frasor (currently injured), Oliver (41 years old), and Janssen. That's been improved through trades and call-ups.

The Jays have used more players than any other team in the AL. I think San Diego might beat them in the Majors though.  Toronto's almost definitely near the top in man-games lost.  And as I said, this includes 3/5 of our opening day starting rotation. Leaving one rookie and our ace.  Except Romero obviously can't handle the pressure of being the ONLY experienced starter and being relied on for a win every 5 games. He's performed terribly since the rotation got crushed.

This is a team that was in contention for 1st overall. Then lost that, but was only a few games back of the wild card. That's now long gone too with a 56-65 record, 10 games out of the post-season in any form.

We had the HR leader again in Bautista, now he'd have to go on an epic tear to catch up when he gets back from injury.  Luckily, Encarnacion has done nothing but impress and step up this season, with 31 homers and 82 RBIs and will only look better when more power is back in the lineup.

We have the leader in stolen bases in Rajai Davis, who is practically unstoppable when he gets on base.

Too bad nobody can hit .300, although Lawrie and Encarnacion have come close.

Lawrie, Morrow, and Bautista should all be back this weekend. Which sounds not unlike "unicorns will be farting rainbows across the sky" to Jays fans these days. Lind, Arencibia, and Frasor will hopefully be back by September. Hutchison, Drabek, Santos, McGowan, Litsch, (4 starters and a closer) are all gone for the season.

So let's recap: our 3B, RF, 1B, C, #1 middle-relief, and #2 starter will all be back in the lineup by mid-September. Our 2B, SS and CF JUST got back from less-serious injuries. That's all but 1 position out.

The 2012 season is a write-off. The team needs a mulligan from the fans, and a redo for 2013. The conditioning regimen needs to be seriously looked at, and the coaching staff's methods have to be overhauled. Bad luck is one thing. Losing nearly every single starting player for extended periods of time is unacceptable and a sign of something being rotten in the organization.

And dammit, this team was looking REALLY good. The question marks like Rasmus and Johnson were doing great, Encarnacion has earned every dollar of his contract, Bautista continued to MVP it up, Lawrie was growing into the star he'll be in leaps and bounds, Lind was finally figuring it out, Davis had earned his every day spot, Arencibia was leaving management confused what to do with the mega-prospect D'Arnaud in the minors (now also injured), with no room behind the plate in the bigs for him, Morrow was having a breakout year, Drabek was finally showing maturity, Hutchison and Alvarez were impressing.  Hell, the only hole was in the bullpen, and that could have been fixed if everyone wasn't trying to plug injury hole after injury hole.

I stand by my preseason prediction, this team would have been fighting for the wild card this year. The only bright spot is that they're young enough to put up that fight next year.  Maybe even stronger.  As it is now, with the hope that we do see most of the team healthy, I expect a strong September.  It will be too late, but it should be entertaining.