Jays In 30…Thoughts
30 thoughts from the week that was for the Toronto Blue Jays
5/7/2016 – 5/13/2016
1) Can’t Get Outs. Drew Storen just can’t get batters out. This trend started in 2015 through his last 15 appearances and he seems to have not shaken those issues. With less velocity on his fastball and confidence dwindling by the day who knows when he will come out of it…or if he will. It is good to hear that he is no longer pitching in high leverage situations so he can try to regain confidence to start.
2) One Of The Best. Clayton Kershaw is amazing to watch. He really showed, even though he wasn’t as good as he can be, that he is one of the best pitchers currently in the game. 10Ks and no walks, while giving up 2 earned runs, is still nothing to complain about versus the Jays.
3) Hot! Hot! HOT! Michael Saunders is hitting .400 over his last 7 games with 1 game-tying home run versus the Giants. Where should he be hitting? With a .392 OBP, for the season, I really think he should be at the top of the order. He isn’t an ideal leadoff hitter but he is our best option on the team.
4) Superman Is Back. Pillar made another diving catch in the outfield on Saturday. They have been a bit fewer and further between so far this season. It is good to remember the great plays as he did struggle in the outfield versus the Giants.
5) Losing 2 Of 3. In the first taste of interleague play this season the Jays lost 2 of 3 to the Dodgers. With their high payroll L.A. has not produced wins like they had hoped this season. Of course, versus the Jays, they seemed to pull it together. Their starting pitching looks really good…but so does ours.
6) Winning 2 of 3. Following the series loss at home we went to San Francisco to play the Giants where we almost earned the sweep. Coming out with 2 of 3 in their house isn’t too bad – it would have been nice to earn the sweep after taking the final game to extra innings and losing a heartbreaker with a walk-off base on balls…it was also a 4-pitch walk which stings even more. Ryan Tepera was demoted immediately following the walk in extra innings.
7) Outfield Depth Thinned Out. The Blue Jays signed the 33-year-old Michael Bourn on April 22 and assigned him to extended spring training. He then joined the Dunedin Blue Jays, where he hit .257 with a .737 OPS and had one stolen base in nine games. Not much of a loss here – he struggled last year and was a long shot to have an impact at the MLB level.
8) Bullpen Help. Much is being made about Devon Travis starting his rehab assignment but Aaron Loup is also starting a rehab assignment over the weekend. With a bullpen in a bit of disarray they should take all the help they can get. Now will we get Loup of 2014/15 or Loup of 2012/13?
9) Setup Options. Gavin Floyd, Jesse Chavez or even Joe Biagini. Take your pick – they all deserve a shot. Biagini may be a stretch due to his lack of MLB experience but hey – Roberto Osuna was a rookie last year…that seemed to work out.
10) We’re Going Streaking! 4 wins followed by 2 loses followed by 2 wins and a loss…the team really needs some consistency and, oddly, it all comes down to the bats coming alive. Who would have guessed the offense was going to be the issue?
11) The Freak. The Blue Jays, along with almost every other team, sent representation to watch Tim Lincecum showcase his stuff in an attempt to land a contract after hip surgery in September. It sounds like he looked good and really wants to be a starter. Not really sure where he would fit with the Blue Jays – it could allow Aaron Sanchez to move back to the bullpen and he should come at a pretty low cost (and no assets would be lost). That being said, I doubt he is a Jay this season.
12) Bases Loaded. Is it just me or have the Blue Jays had a lot of chances with the bases loaded this season and have failed to get any runs in? What a difference a year makes. It is starting to get frustrating!
13) How Can We Take Him Out? Aaron Sanchez is dealing. What will his inning limit be and if we are in the midst of a pennant run how can we take out one of the best pitchers in our rotation? The only way is by making a splash on the trade market to shore things up…right?
14) Tough Inning! Michael Saunders has been hitting well but had a tough inning in the field in San Francisco. First he lost a ball in the lights allowing a double, and the only run in the game; he later was tracking a ball in foul territory – tripped on the bullpen mound and proceeded to take the ball off his head….ouch!
15) Hitting Pitchers. Sanchez had his first big league at bats – and it showed. His bunt attempts were hilariously bad. Things changed the next night when J.A. Happ earned his 17th career hit…and looked a lot more comfortable in the box.
16) Speaking Of Pitchers Hitting…The New York Mets had some phenomenal hitting from their pitchers this week with former Jays prospect Noah Syndergaard having a 2 home run game but that was arguably topped by the ageless wonder Bartolo Colon when he belted his first career home run at the age of 42.
17) AT&T Park The Giants stadium is phenomenal. Out of the 9 stadiums I have visited it is my overall favourite. The beauty of the city surrounding it really helps a lot as well. But, heck, I’d go back for the garlic fries alone!
18) Another Suspension. Pitcher Clinton Hollon was suspended 50 games under baseball’s minor league drug program. Hollon tested positive for a second time for a drug of abuse which caused his 2nd suspension. The 21-year-old right-hander selected in the second round in 2013, was 4-4 with a 3.32 ERA in 14 starts and four relief appearances for two minor league teams last year. Hopefully he can get things straightened out in his life and his career.
19) That Average Isn’t Getting Better. There has been a lot made of Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki and their struggles but how about Jose Bautista hitting .208 with 6 home runs. That isn’t anything close what we are used to seeing. It ain’t early anymore – he needs to step it up.
20) Always On [His] Mind? Is Bautista’s contract situation on his mind? It has to be. He is human. His play, so far, in 2016 isn’t earning him any extra money – that is for sure.
21) The HAPPening. Entering the season I really felt that J.A. Happ was going to be the weak link in the Blue Jays rotation. Boy was I wrong. He sure isn’t the Happ we saw 2 years ago in Toronto. What a turnaround he has made – he is definitely earning his contract!
22) Breakout? Could Troy Tulowitzki be turning things around? With 2 home runs and 6 RBI in his last 6 games at least the production is up…the only issue is that besides the 2 home runs he has only had one other hit. At least there are signs of a breakout.
23) Suck On That One. We all know I love John Gibbons – especially the postgame interviews when he leans back in his chair. After Troy Tulowitzki went 2 for 3 with 3 RBI and a home run Gibbons quipped that all the Tulo haters could “suck on that one.” Classic Gibby – I probably watched that clip 5 times the next morning.
24) Taking It To the Field. With 6 errors in his last 14 games it seems that Tulowitzki has taken his offensive struggles to the field with him. This is a 5 time All-Star and 2 time Gold Glover – did the change of league affect him that much? Has he simply lost it? In his career he did have better numbers at Coors Field…that could be a factor.
25) Help On The Way? Devon Travis has started a rehab assignment that can last a maximum of 20 days. We could be seeing the young, potential, star by June if things go well! What a boost to the lineup he could bring!
26) What A (Non) Trade! Michael Saunders is proving me wrong. He is also proving the upper management of the Blue Jays wrong as well. He is one of the best hitters on the team so far this year. Could you imagine if we had Jay Bruce? He would just make the team batting average even worse than it already is. Thank goodness this trade didn’t work out. Hope I am not speaking too soon!!
27) Moving Up The List. Edwin Encarnacion is now #4 on the career home run list for the Toronto Blue Jays (passing Joe Carter). After being bounced around the league, including being designated and waived on separate occasions by the Jays, this is quite the accomplishment. All I can say is enjoy the parrot while we can!
28) R.A.Diculous. R.A. Dickey is showing his usual progression for the season and is really starting to make the knuckleball dance. 8 innings on no run ball proved that on Friday night in Texas. Our starting rotation has blown all expectations away thus far.
29) Something Borrowed and Something New Together. The quick pitch is a new “bullet in the gun” as Dickey says. He has added this new pitch to his arsenal after borrowing it from other pitchers he has watched versus the Jays. In his first showcase it really seemed to work keeping the Rangers guessing all night!
30) Flipping Boo’s. I would not have expected anything else in Texas. Every time that Jose Bautista came to bat he was booed mercilessly. Bautista usually thrives in situations like that but on his first night in town he was pretty quiet at the plate…maybe the weekend will bring a fired up Bautista.
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