Jays In 30…Thoughts
30 thoughts from the week that was for the Toronto Blue Jays
4/30/2016 – 5/6/2016
1) Birthday Boy. Happy Birthday Marcus Stroman! On Sunday, Stroman pitched like an ace to win the series versus the Rays – is it just me or do professional athletes always have big games on their birthdays?
2) Good Start To The Week. The Jays, historically, have not had much success in Tampa Bay but they started the week off taking 2 of 3 from the Rays. They had split the season opening series down in Tampa so maybe, just maybe, they have figured it out in Florida!
3) Heartbreaking Loss…Again. Curt Casali walked off the Jays on Saturday offering the team another heartbreaking 1 run loss. They have really started to add up over the season – something has to give, right?
4) Where There Is Smoak… Justin Smoak hit the game-tying and game-winning home runs versus the Rangers (after losing their series opening game) and, to top it off, they were his first two home runs of the season! What a game by Smoak. It was exactly what the team needed. He is going to be such a big part of the team this year with Colabello out for 80 games.
5) Slight Change In The Lineup. Justin Smoak and Troy Tulowitzki swapped places in the lineup behind Edwin Encarnacion. This seems to be for 2 reasons – Tulowitzki has struggled and also, as Smoak is a switch hitter, it breaks up a string of right handed bats in the lineup.
6) Another Change? Would the Blue Jays consider swapping Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson in the batting order? Bautista just doesn’t, currently, have the same power as Donaldson but gets on base a pile…why not let Donaldson bring him in?
7) Another MVP Season? Josh Donaldson has started out hot and is currently tied for the AL lead in home runs while leading the league in runs scored. With great defense and a team that is starting to hit around him –could there be another MVP season on the horizon?
9) A Little Slow. Drew Storen’s fastball has dropped, on average, from 94 MPH to 91.9 MPH this season. This is a worry. Storen had such a terrible end to his season last year and a tough start to this year – maybe the arm just isn’t there anymore?
10) Setting Records. April was not kind to Brett Cecil as he tied a record for loses by a reliever, from 1913, with 5. I still wonder if his calf injury is lingering. He is such an important piece to the puzzle. We need him back to his normal self.
11) Too Much Faith. John Gibbons always allows his players to work things out but he has finally realized that Goins is just not an everyday guy and is letting Barney platoon. Sure he is a fan favourite but he is a bench player people – much like John McDonald (who, by the way, has a better career batting average and OBP than Goins and he was no starter).
12) No Fireworks. Jose Bautista, unlike most thought, got out of the Rangers series without being plunked by any of the Rangers pitching staff. I really thought someone would have at least thrown one behind him to send a message but I guess the Rangers are over it!
13) Out Of a Jam. Sam Dyson got out of a jam that he caused by getting Jose Bautista out. It was a small amount of retribution for the former Blue Jay who gave up the home run that resulted in causing the “bat flip heard around the world.”
14) .300 Hitter. When the Blue Jays acquired Troy Tulowitzki he was a .300 career hitter (4415 plate appearances). As a Blue Jay (303 plate appearances) he has hit at a .210 clip. What gives? Does hitting at Coors Field help that much? Is the pitching in the AL that much better? That is a crazy drop off.
15) Gimme Some Mo’. Russell Martin shaved his beard, keeping a moustache. He proceeded to have 5 hits in 10 at bats in the final 3 games against the Rangers…Maybe Tulo should grow a moustache?
16) It Isn’t That Simple…But It Should Be. Ryan Goins can’t bunt. That is something a light hitting middle infielder should know how to do and he clearly needs to work on it. He hasn’t had a great year with the bat so he needs to contribute somehow and bunting may be the way.
17) Blowout! 12-2, Edwin with 6 RBIs, and even Tulowitzki had a hit – what a game Thursday night against the Rangers. It looked like the Jays of 2015.
18) Walk It Off…Again After the Smoak walk-off the Blue Jays proceeded to walk off their next game with a bases loaded hit by Russell Martin. These types of wins are the ones that can turn a season around!
19) The Brain Is So Powerful. Sure he may have had a neck injury but I really believe in the power of confidence and Russell Martin is all of a sudden back to his old self – and I really believe it was all in his head! It is great to see him hitting again – the team needs him.
20) Is This The End Game? Kevin Pillar had success hitting leadoff on Thursday and I am guessing we see this setup, full time, in the future. By moving Saunders down to #6 it helps split up the righties in the lineup and, really, Saunders does have more power and isn’t a true leadoff hitter (neither is Pillar but it is our best option on the roster).
21) New Setup Man? Gavin Floyd has impressed all year and did it again on Friday night. Coming in with the game tied, Floyd allowed no base runners in the 8th and now sports a 2.13 ERA. Not bad for a guy who has been a starter for most of his career.
22) The Purple Dinosaur. How about that Darwin Barney?! He is hitting .333 with stellar defense – how is he not in the lineup everyday over Ryan Goins and his .149 average…I don’t know.
23) That Didn’t Last Long. Matt Dominguez was sent down this week in favour of left-handed reliever Chad Girodo. Girodo was the 8th man in the bullpen…which seems like a little overkill…and that quickly changed.
24) Friday Roster Move. Andy Burns, a utility infielder who impressed in spring training, has been called up with Ryan Tepera being sent down to Buffalo. It will be interesting to see how much playing time the 25 year old gets. I doubt it will be much – seems like the shuttle to Buffalo will be busy for awhile!
25) The Rotation. The starting rotation just keeps putting up great outings. J.A. Happ has proved me wrong and has continued to build off his success with the Pirates at the end of last season. Even R.A. Dickey put up a great outing versus the Rangers – things are looking good!
26) Last Place. The Buffalo Bisons are in last place in their division and it seems they are offensively challenged. Jesus Montero seems to be the main bright spot while there are far too many question marks in the lineup.
27) Still In It. No one, thankfully, is running away with the East. Playing as bad as that team has and we are only 3 games back. With the bats coming along it seems the fan base, myself included, are breathing a sigh of relief. Now, above .500, it is time to keep on rolling toward first place.
28) Loving The 6. Yasiel Puig went fishing and did the edge walk at the CN Tower during his time in Toronto. He was on Twitter showing his experiences and seemed to love it! Great first impression from the city! Maybe a new Jays outfielder in 2019?
29) Tough Schedule Continues. The Dodgers (including a matchup against Clayton Kershaw), San Francisco, Texas and Tampa Bay are the next series the Jays have to face. It is a tough road ahead. Enjoy it Jays fans!
[Ed. Note: Jory only gave me 29 thoughts, so here’s one of my own…
30) Interleague play! I’m excited to watch Clayton Kershaw, Madison Bumgartner and other National Leaguers this week. And of course, I love watching pitchers hit. Especially American League pitchers.]
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