Well it is finally official. After 162 games spanning six months, the curtain has finally fallen on the 2013 Toronto Blue Jays. Tomorrow, we begin the task of turning the page from the disappointment of this season to the promise of next year.
However, before we start that journey, there is some room to reflect on this final day of 2013.
- The Blue Jays nearly pulled off the impossible, sweeping the Tampa Bay Rays during the final series of the season. However, a 6-0 deficit in the first inning became too much to overcome, as the Blue Jays fell 7-6. Still, it was a worthy effort by a team with nothing left to lose or play for, and if anything, it gave fans one last reason to cheer for this team.
- A win would have been significant, as it could have possibly prevented Tampa from making the postseason. The Rays entered the game in a tie with the Texas Rangers for the last Wild Card slot in the American League. With the win, the Rays guarantee at least a play-in game for that slot (Texas is up 2-1 as of this writing).
- The Blue Jays finish the season with a record of 74-88, exactly one game better than they were a year ago. This tweet about sums it up perfectly.
Blue Jays finish with 1 win more than last year. $40 million doesn't buy what it used to.
— Josh Visser (@joshvisser) September 29, 2013
- At one point, I found it interesting while following along on Twitter. Many of the folks I followed were torn between the Blue Jays playing the spoilers and the Blue Jays securing a top ten, protected draft choice in the 2013 draft. With the loss and a Mets win, Toronto is guaranteed at least the 9th pick in the draft. Now, while the protected pick gives the Blue Jays flexibility during free agency, it just seems contradictory to me that you root for a team to fail.
- One great moment from today’s game was the final appearance of Darren Oliver, who took the ball for the final time in his Major League career in the top of the seventh. It was a perfect send-off for Oliver, who used just 11 pitches to set the side down in order, including a pair of strike-outs. The fans gave him a hearty round of applause as he walked off the mound and teammates greeted him with hugs at the dug-out. Baseball can sometimes look like a game devoid of emotion, but its moments like these that bring it back around.
- While the Blue Jays were losing for the 88th time this year, one of the pieces they traded to Miami in the Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, and Mark Buehrle deal has himself quite the final day of the regular season. Right-hander Henderson Alvarez threw the 3rd no-hitter of the 2013 season, and the 5th in Marlins history. Interestingly enough, Alvarez had to celebrate the feat with his batting gloves on. After throwing 9-innings of no-hit ball, the game remained scoreless, until the winning run scored from third on a wild pitch, with Alvarez in the on-deck circle. Weird how some things work out.
- Prior to the game, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos held court with the media and answered some fairly lollipop questions from the Toronto media. As he has in the past week, he acknowledged that 2/5ths of the rotation was solid and that the other 3/5ths was a disappointment, making that the Blue Jays offseason priority.
- He mentioned the bullpen as a source of wealth in terms of trade bait, and that the team would use it to help address other needs. Interestingly enough, he mentioned the team fielded plenty of calls over the summer, but didn’t act on any of them.
- J.P. Arencibia was once again discussed, but Anthopoulos again refused to show which was he was leaning with the catcher, or a possible replacement.
- Anthopoulos also addressed Ricky Romero, who he indicated may pitch in winter ball to help rebuild his confidence and get him additional innings. This is a great idea. He also used Scott Kazmir‘s resurfacing as a example that rebound could be in the cards, even when the deck looks stacked against it.
- In regards to the second base situation, Anthopoulos also seemed non-committal. In one breath, he indicated that the team could look to find an upgrade at the position, but also mentions that Ryan Goins will be given the chance to compete for the job in spring training. As far as upgrades go, there are far greater areas this team needs to address before second base.
Well folks, that wraps up our 2013 Blue Jays season. On behalf of the Jays Journal staff, I want to thank you all for sticking with us throughout this tough season and for welcoming us onto your computers. That said, we won’t be going anywhere, as we simply turn the page and move on to next year, as the opening paragraph indicates. Stay tuned for more player reviews, arbitration discussion, and the Hot Stove season.
Tomorrow is a brand new day with a clean slate.