I finally settled in to watch the game when the score was 8-3 and Brett Cecil was leaving the mound, so forgive me for not going through his troubles on the mound, but there’s no doubt it’s an outing he wants to forget quickly. From what I gather, Brett was leaving too many pitches up in the zone and had problems hitting his spots in the bottom of the zone – a recipe for disaster. Still, he was picked up by a group that has so much tenacity that I think they should put it in big letters in the locker room. Fred Lewis recently mentioned that it is this tenacity – the never give up attitude – that has impressed him most since coming over from San Francisco. They always believe they can fight their way to a win, and that attitude will get any team to outperform expectations. Lewis fits in perfectly with this club as he holds the same mentality. What an addition by Alex Anthopolous. It’s simply outstanding.
Back to the game, the MVP has to be Travis Snider in this one because his 3-run bomb in the 3rd inning put the Jays squarely back in the game and since he fouled off so many pitches to get the pitch he wanted, he wore down Rich Harden and got him out of the game very early. Travis fouled off 5 straight pitches before getting the one he liked enough to crush, and took 11 pitches in all in that AB. After that AB, Doug Mathis came into the game and handed the Jays the 21st win of their season by allowing 4 more runs to score in the inning – most due to the 10th HR of the season for Vernon Wells that drove in 3 and gave the Jays the lead for good.
The Jays ended up scoring 8 runs on Mathis and it is likely that had he not come into the game when he did, the Jays may have had a harder chance scoring so many runs. That 3rd inning was fun to watch, with 7 runs being scored with 2 outs in the inning and the Jays batting around. They hit 3 HRs in the inning and added 4 more in the 4th, with the help of Aaron Hill and Adam Lind who hit back-to-back HRs. If these two can get hot, the Jays are looking at a very potent lineup that could do some serious damage down the stretch.
Lyle Overbay helped Alex Anthopolous out by hitting 3 for 3 with 2 walks in his 5 ABs, bringing his average up to .189 on the season. He hit a double, a HR, and a single, going a triple shy of the cycle. Lyle drove in 3 and scored twice in the game, showing some much needed production from the struggling 1B.
The Rays lost to Seattle last night, meaning that the Jays are now only 4 games back of the division lead (Rays) and 3 behind the 2nd place Yankees who are currently in the lead for the Wild Card. Therefore, the Jays are well within contention as we hit the middle of May and now have close to 1/4 of the season completed. There’s lots of baseball left, but you have to believe that pretty soon there will be some sellers that may allow the Jays to capitalize on upcoming FAs. I’m thinking of Arizona who have lost 7 games in a row and are in a very tough division, or the Royals and Indians who sit at the bottom of the AL Central. I would mention the Orioles, but it’s highly unlikely that a trade who be conducted with the division rivals. I’m not sure if these teams would be a fit in any way for trades, but I’m certain they’re fielding a ton of calls right now.
The Blue Jays have now lead the majors with 57 HRs on the season, 9 more than the next highest team – the Red Sox – who have 48. In fact, the Jays are 1 of 7 teams that have more than 40 HRs on the year. With Brett Wallace and JP Arencibia threatening to add to these totals, and Aaron Hill – Adam Lind being cold to start the year, the Jays could do even better down the road, a pretty frightening thought. Talk about dropping the hammers!
The Jays are also tied for 3rd with 183 RBIs. However, the STAT OF THE DAY for the Jays is this:
The 5 top teams in MLB in terms of runs scored on the season are:
- The AL East Yankees with 198 runs;
- The AL East Rays with 192 runs;
- The NL Central Brewers with 191 runs;
- The AL East Red Sox with 189 runs; tied with
- The AL East Blue Jays with 189 runs.
That, my friends, is one awesome fact pointing to just how tough the AL East is to play. When 4 of the top 5 run producing teams are in the same division you know it’s a stacked division filled to the brim with talent. It’s no wonder that the 4th place team in the division, the Red Sox, have a .528 winning percentage that would make them 2nd in the West and 3rd in the Central. The Jays, meanwhile, with their .568 winning percentage would be 2nd in the Central and would be leading the West.
So I ask you this – is it time to do away with divisions and simply have conferences? Why not? At least in that case if the top 3 teams happened to be in the AL East they would all make the playoffs. Why should a lowly AL West team make the playoffs simply because it’s division sucks in comparison? It doesn’t make sense to me at all, especially when you account for the fact that all AL East teams have a tougher schedule because they play one another so often.