Jays In 30…Thoughts
30 thoughts from the week that was for the Toronto Blue Jays
5/14/2016 – 5/20/2016
1) Is This Hockey? The Brawl. So much has been said already, I won’t dwell on it. My only opinion is that Jose Bautista should have had his dukes up!
2) Cheap Shot. Sam Dyson clocked Jason Phillips out of the blue in the melee and not much was made of it. Dyson didn’t even get suspended and got away with a measly fine. Come on MLB, you can’t let something like that slide.
3) Retribution. I don’t like when it happened but it had to happen. Jose Bautista was going to get beaned and that should have been it. He flipped his bat – he didn’t flip the bird to the entire Ranger dugout. Bean him in the first game and be done with it.
4) Suspensions. The suspensions handed out were about right. Rougned Odor got 8 games and not much more could be expected. Bautista’s single game was a little unexpected but it is the 2nd time he has broken the new slide rule and he did have some comments to the media afterward…so it was kind of earned.
5) The Game. Aside from the brawl, the Jays lost the game – and the series. If they expected to get a boost from the Odor punch I think they needed a comeback then and there.
6) Why Would There Be Fire? The team lost the fight, the game and the series against their rival Texas Rangers. How can you rally around all of those loses…in one day. It just doesn’t happen.
7) Listless. 13-2, 12-2 and 6-3. The scores from the recent Saskatchewan Roughrider wins…no wait…the scores in the Blue Jays series versus the Rays. The team really didn’t seem to be all there for any of the 3 game set. It was painful to watch.
8) Changes At Manager? If things go South in Minneapolis I fear that John Gibbons may be in trouble. Bud Black is a name being thrown around and Eric Wedge is sitting in the wings as well. I am a John Gibbons fan and it isn’t his fault that the team is underachieving. Mark Shapiro did endorse him publicly but if things go bad how long could that last?
9) The Trouble At Catcher .167, 1 home run, 9 RBIs. That is the total production from the catcher position. The worst part is there is no way to swap either of these catchers out to try to get some more production. This is what we have in 2016.
10) Too Much Pressure? Could it be that the players, coaches, media and fans put way too much pressure on this team? There were a lot of career seasons last year along with some very key reinforcements that helped the team go on a great run at the end of the season. Maybe the team is crumbling under the immense pressure?
11) 40 Games. Mark Shapiro, early on, said that he judges a team after 40 games. Here we are. It is not early anymore. Where do we go from here? The team is built to win but is underachieving. The farm team is depleted – there aren’t many assets to trade to add to the MLB roster. Do we continue to wait and hope for better days? Or do we trade someone like Troy Tulowitzki?
12) Roster Adjustments. Jimmy Paredes in, Pat Venditte in, Andy Burns out and Dustin Antolin out. Ross Atkins continues to juggle the roster in an attempt to find the right mix to earn this team some wins.
13) Clean Sweep. No game was really in doubt. The Rays swept the Jays in convincing fashion furthering damaging their confidence after the debacle in Texas. It won’t be the last time the team is swept this year but hopefully it is the last time it happens in such convincing fashion. That one was tough to watch.
14) Who Is LEFT? Injuries to the bullpen are piling up – especially with our lefties. Brett Cecil, Franklin Morales and Aaron Loup are all on the disabled list. Loup is the closest to returning, having started a rehab assignment, but he has struggled allowing 4 runs over 2 innings…ouch.
15) A Great Story. Rule-5 pickup Joe Biagini earned his first save in the extra inning win versus the Twins. Besides Roberto Osuna he has been the best arm in the bullpen sporting a 0.59 ERA over 15.1 innings. What a pickup by the team…it doesn’t hurt that his teammates seem to really enjoy having him around.
16) Making Their Own Lineup. Desperate times call for desperate measures. The leadership group on the team decided to create, and propose, their own lineup to begin the series against the Twins. John Gibbons and company have a lot of faith in their players and are truly allowing them to try and figure any way out of this slump!
17) Contracts? Are Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacions contract situations adding to the pressure? Are they hanging over their heads? Yes. They are human, they want to maximize their worth.
18) Not An Ace. Sure Marcus Stroman‘s ERA of 4.23 could point to the fact that he has not yet reached ace status but I look to the game in Tampa Bay on Tuesday. An ace goes out there and stops a losing streak. He puts the team on their back and earns the win – even if the score ends up 1-0. Stroman has a huge fan in me but no one can claim he is an ace yet.
19) Falling Out Of It? 6 games back as of Friday with 3 more games against the Twins. Really, when looking at the stats, it is amazing that the team is only 3 games under .500. If they start to hit things can turn around in a hurry. You gotta believe!
20) RLISP. The struggle is real. 27th overall with a .219 average. Last year we were 1st in the league with a .286 average. That is an insane drop-off for a team that has very little turnover.
21) A Spark? Devon Travis is playing in Triple-A Buffalo. He is getting close to making it back to the big club – if he can build off his 200+ AB last season he could, potentially, be the spark the Jays offense needs. He can’t be any worse than the production we have had from 2nd base this season. This would create a small logjam in the Jays infield.
22) Back To Buffalo? Ryan Goins is a one tool player. He has options. He and Barney wouldn’t garner much on the trade market and the best solution is to send Goins to Buffalo to try and get his bat going. It isn’t the best solution – it is the only solution. Barney could be picked up on waivers as a good bench player.
23) Grinding One Out. After going 1/9 with runners in scoring position the Blue Jays grinded out a win versus the hapless Twins on Thursday night in extra innings. After Marco Estrada had a terrific outing there is no way the Jays could let this one slip away.
24) Target Field. Last year, around this time, 8 friends and I went down to Minneapolis to watch the Jays series. Target Field is amazing. We would go early and check out the many bars and restaurants. The site lines are great and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. I highly recommend checking the stadium out!
25) That Didn’t Work. With Jose Bautista hitting leadoff the Blue Jays, for the first time this year, the team exploded for 3 runs against the worst team in the American League. Is it worth trying again? It didn’t work the first time and Bautista should be in a position to drive in runs…maybe hitting 2nd?
26) Hitting. Would a new hitting coach help? Maybe a spiritual ritual to take a curse off the bats? Would some Joe Maddon techniques work (i.e., Zoo animals in the locker room). Right now John Gibbons should leave no stone unturned.
27) Stealing From The Enemy. Jimmy Paredes was picked up on waivers from the Baltimore Orioles this week. The switch hitting utility player has already left his mark on the Blue Jays – both good and bad. On Thursday night his defense was on display when a routine grounder at 2nd went right through the wickets. His bat was also on display with a home run in his first start on his new team…he looks to be a great switch hitting bench player – at 27 years old he could still have some upside as well.
28) Offense Or Defense? As mentioned before Paredes played at 2nd base and had a tough error. With the offense struggling like it has I still believe the right choice was made to have him in the lineup over Goins or, the recently cooling, Darwin Barney. Paredes just needs to make those routine plays until Travis returns!
29) Mr. Consistent. Marco Estrada has really come into his own and makes the trade for Adam Lind look like a steal. He continues to impress as a starter for the team – going out there and giving them a chance to win almost every night. I am glad the team locked him up through next season!
30) The Tough Road Ahead. Even though the New York Yankees are scuffling they are only a half game back of the Jays and are 6-4 in their last 10. The next 12 games are between them and the Red Sox. A lot will be decided in those 4 series. The American League East always offers up stiff competition!
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