Jays In 30…Thoughts
30 thoughts from the week that was for the Toronto Blue Jays
4/23/2016 – 4/29/2016
1) John Gibbons and The Heartbreakers. Walk off passed ball. 7-2 blown lead. Base runner hit by grounder. The slide rule. 5-1 blown lead. These are just some of the ways the Blue Jays have lost this season. Quite the start.
2) Was That on Purpose? Former Blue Jay Liam Hendricks plunked Josh Donaldson this week. It really looked intentional. Did they have beef last year? Was Hendricks just earning some respect on the new squad? Swift justice was shown with J.A. Happ hitting the next Athletic he faced.
3) Backups Are Hitting. Darwin Barney and Ezequiel Carrera have come off the bench and have hit, provided solid defense and have really been the lone bright spots on the team some nights. I have always argued that Barney is better than Ryan Goins and he continues to show this. Maybe the Jays need to look at more ways to juggle the outfield so Carrera can get more at bats? Jose Bautista could DH more and play a little first base?
4) Any Help Out There? The bullpen has struggled. Besides some minor tweaks there doesn’t seem to be much the team can do. They swapped Pat Venditte, and his era over 7, for Ryan Tepera and really now we just wait for guys to come back from the DL and other guys to turn things around. Triple-A Buffalo doesn’t have much help for the bullpen at the moment.
5) “Need to evaluate their approach” Josh Donaldson spoke out. It wasn’t quite the same speech as his “this is the get-it-done league” speech last year but he got his point across. Guys on the team need to pick it up.
6) Getting the Job Done. Drew Hutchison was called up for a spot start against Oakland on Sunday and looked pretty good in doing so. I didn’t agree with pushing all the starters back so early in the season but the move did show that we can have faith in our #6 starter if ever there is an injury. Have to feel good for the guy.
7) New Guy in Town. Matt Dominguez, a former 21-home-run hitter, joined the squad due to the Chris Colabello suspension. Dominguez figures to be nothing more than a bench player giving Donaldson the odd day off and will also play a little first base as well. Don’t expect a ton of playing time here.
8) Another Slow Start. Yes it is expected but something has got to give in regards to R.A. Dickey. The team is starting to dig a hole and it can’t have a pitcher out there who doesn’t inspire confidence in getting a win. It isn’t just that he hasn’t pitched well but the fact that his personal catcher takes up a roster spot and really doesn’t offer anything to the team hurts as well.
9) It’s Not Early. 24 games in. Nearly 15% of the season. It is time to get it together.
10) Is The Injury Lingering? Brett Cecil can’t get batters out. Plain and simple. After a tough calf injury in the playoffs last year could he be suffering some lingering issues from that?
12) Acting Out. Although I believe him when he says he was angry at himself, and not Brett Cecil, Marcus Stroman had a fit in the dugout after he was pulled and his runners came around to score as Cecil couldn’t get an out. It looked bad. He even glared at his manager. I didn’t like it. You don’t show up your teammates or your manager. They will pick you up in the future. It happens – act like a pro.
13) Are We a .500 Team? Last year, until the trade deadline acquisitions, the Jays were a .500 team and as of right now we are looking that way again. Maybe the team just isn’t that good? Do we, as fans, see the squad with extremely biased eyes?
14) Help on the Way? It is a lot to put on a young player but could Devon Travis be the spark the Blue Jays need offensively? He is a long ways away but it is great to hear he will be taking at bats in extended spring training this week.
15) Back To The Bullpen? An idea has come up too move Aaron Sanchez back to the bullpen. Sure it would help but how can you justify moving one of our best starters, so far, to the bullpen? Could Gavin Floyd or Hutchison be trusted to fill the starting role? It just doesn’t seem right…just not yet. He worked too hard to earn his spot.
16) Is He Worried Yet? I have said it before and will say it again – I wonder if John Gibbons is feeling some heat? New bosses. Eric Wedge sitting and waiting to take his job. Tough start to the season. It has to be weighing on him.
17) Never Would Have Guessed. Besides Roberto Osuna the best relievers for the Jays have been Gavin Floyd and Jesse Chavez. Both guys went into camp vying for a job in the rotation and have performed very well in the bullpen. It is a feel good story but not great news for the Jays.
18) Great Interview. Jamie Campbell interviewed Chris Colabello, his first public appearance since his suspension, and it really had me captivated. He seems to be a broken man. I want to believe him…badly. It is just so tough, in this day and age, with so many athletes having lied to us about this subject matter in the past. Ryan Braun, Jason Giambi, Lance Armstrong, and Marion Jones come to mind. I want to believe him…I really do.
19) Interesting Story Jamie Campbell, appearing on a radio show, told a story of how careful Colabello really was with what he would eat and/or drink. He told a story about stopping at a Yogun Fruz to grab a shake. He worried about what the shake had in it and ended up getting a very plain Kale shake. The man was careful. Who even thinks that a Yogun Fruz could have something that is banned by the MLB?
20) Will He Be a Jay Again? Now that Colabello is not eligible to play in the postseason is there much point in having him rejoin the team once his suspension is lifted? He can help the team out, if he heats up, but it takes away at bats from someone that would be needed in the playoffs. In my opinion if he can help us get a playoff berth he will be back in a Jays uniform this year.
21) The Boss Is Worried. Ross Atkins admitted, in an interview, that he was worried about the team’s bullpen. Now – what is he going to do about it? Does the answer lie in the injured arms that will come back? Or does the team just have to wait out the guys they have and hope they turn things around?
22) That Stings. A clean sweep but the much improved White Sox stung during the week. Having 3 prominent former Blue Jays on the team added a little salt to the wound.
23) Tough Running Into an Ex…or 3. Brett Lawrie, Melky Cabrera, and Dioner Navarro. All ex-Jays all left the team on good terms and for different reasons and all are had a part in sweeping the Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. It is always good to see 3 fan favourites have success but it stings when it is against the Jays…especially at home!
24) Swinging For The Fences. For the first time this year the Jays hit 4 home runs in a game on Friday night – led by Michael Saunders hitting 2 solo shots. The Jays often live and die by the long ball so this is a good sign – hopefully they can keep it rolling!
25) Another Strong Outing. Aaron Sanchez continues to show he belongs as a starter with another strong start on Friday night tossing 7 innings of scoreless ball. He could be useful in the bullpen but deserves to stay in the rotation with the way he has pitched.
26) A Pleasant Surprise. J.A. Happ has been lights out this season – building off his time with the Pirates last year. I would have never guessed it but he has, arguably, been one of our more consistent starters this season.
28) Still In It. No one, thankfully, is running away with the East. Playing as bad as that team has and we are only 4 games back. It can be overcome!
29) Setting Records. Russell Martin set a Blue Jay record by striking out 9 times straight. Ouch. He is now hitting .150. Double ouch.
30) Tough Schedule Coming Up. Tampa, Texas, Los Angeles, and San Francisco over the next 19 games – tough opponents that will really show what these Blue Jays are made of.
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