Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Real Toronto Blue Jays

The Toronto Blue Jays have finally come back down to earth after their crazy start.  The Jays, who are 27-19, have now lost 5 straight and are starting to look like the inept team that they were last season.

The Jays started the season by winning 6 series in a row and fans all across Canada wouldn't shut up about how great they were.  They were a completely different team than last year.  They were getting hits with runners in scoring position, getting hits with 2 outs, and coming back from behind late in games.  They were a team that looked as though they were never out of it.

Over the past week this dream has been shattered.  The Jays went into Boston and were swept by the Red Sox and have now lost 2 straight to the Atlanta Braves bringing their losing streak to 5 games. 

The reason for this losing streak?  Lack of scoring production.  Over those 5 games the Jays have managed only 8 runs.  In a 10 inning game against the Braves on Friday night they were shut out over 10 innings ruining an amazing pitching performance by Roy Halladay.  

So far this season the Jays have relied on their youngsters.  Players like Adam Lind, Travis Snider, Chris Ray, Ricky Romero, and Brett Cecil have all been crucial.  Unfortunately these players are starting to show their inexperience.  Cecil gave up a home run to the corpse formally known as David Ortiz and Snider was so bad he was sent down to AAA (huge blow to Steve Wilkin who took him in the 7th round of our baseball draft this year).

The Jays were also successful thanks in part to guys playing out of their minds for the first 50 games.  Aaron Hill is batting .348 and has 11 HR.  No way he keeps this pace.  Adam Lind has 35 RBI and Marco Scutaro has an OBP of .394.  Guys have been way overachieving and it had to end sometime.

They have hung in their for awhile but their inability to have a consistent starting 5 is finally catching up to them.  Injuries to McGowan, Marcum, Litsch and Romero are devastating and will in my mind be the eventual downfall of the team.  When Scott Richmond is your second starter you know that you are in trouble. 

It is also a major issue when the 3 highest paid players on your team are terrible.  Vernon Wells, Alex Rios, and BJ Ryan are all having crappy years and are dragging down the team.  Wells and Rios have 10 HR and 50 RBI between them and are both batting well under .300.  Ryan is a train wreck and lost his closing job to Scott Downs and is now the set up man.  If the Jays want to turn it around they will need these 3 to stop playing like Scottie Smalls and be more like Benjamin Franklin Rodriguez aka Benny the Jet.

I wanted to write an article on the Jays for awhile but I decided to wait until they played a real team, like the Red Sox, before I started singing their praises.  Sure enough I was right and the Sox smashed them and brought out the brooms.  The best part was that the Sox have the worst starting pitching in baseball this year, ERA wise, and yet they used this starting pitching to shut down the Jays offense.

Now that the Jays are actually playing good teams it is no surprise that they are losing.  I mean when you get to play crap teams like the Indians, A's, and Orioels you are bound to put up some wins.

This is not to say that the Jays are complete flukes however as Halladay is for real and overall they have improved from last year.  I just think it is too early to start saying that they are going to win the division, which many people already have.  

The worst part about this whole thing as that even though the team is doing well the fans still aren't going to the ballpark.  The Jays average about 23,000 fans a game but could be doing so much better.  Jays games are a solid time and there is nothing better than being drunk and heckling players at the Skydome (I refuse to call it the Rogers Center).

They still have the division lead as they are currently .5 games ahead of the Red Sox but with the Yankees continuously winning games and the Sox close behind they may not be atop for long. If they can get healthy and stay healthy they may have a chance but in this blowhards opinion the team popped it wad prematurely much like [insert your name here if you are a male friend of mine.  Trying to make sure I burn everyone].

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