May 2, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Munenori Kawasaki (66) dives back to first base on a pick-off attempt against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre. The Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports
What in the world is going on with the Toronto Blue Jays? Whether it’s text messages I get from my friends or random tweets from other fans on Twitter I keep getting asked the same question – why do the Blue Jays suck? Some are still calling for the head of John Gibbons but we’ve already established firing Gibby is not the answer. Twice actually, if you weren’t confused by Travis Bateman’s biting genius. So how does a team filled with this much talent manage to be this bloody terrible to start the year?
Daniel George broke down some of the ugly numbers for the Blue Jays just a few days ago and this week it has only gotten worse. Going into last night’s game, the Jays sat a tick below the Miami Marlins to sport the lowest batting average in all of Major League Baseball. They still can’t score – the Jays’ wRC+ (Weighted Runs Created Plus – basically the amount of runs they create compared to the league average) has dropped to 4th worse in the league from 88 to 87 (100 is average). Keep in mind these stats don’t include last night’s debauchery against the Seattle Mariners. On the bright side, the boys in blue have managed better plate appearances of late resulting in a slight improvement in their BB/K ratio. Despite the drop in average, on base percentage remains steady but still must improve from the .294 it sits at now if the Jays want to win more games.
Thanks to a 10-walk effort against the Boston Red Sox the other night that made nearly every fan watching in Toronto call for Robo Umps, the Jays’ pitching now owns the 4th worse BB/9 at 3.89. The long ball has hurt them as well with the Jays allowing 1.29 HR/9, good for 5th worst in the league. It doesn’t help that when the ball has been in play the Jays have booted it around all year. One stat that really sticks out is the awful rSB (basically a catcher defense stat measuring ability to prevent and throw out steal attempts). Thanks mostly to J.P. Arencibia the team’s rSB is at a shockingly low -4. To put that in perspective there is only one other team as bad as -2 (that team being the Red Sox – this time mostly thanks to Jarrod Saltalamacchia trying to be Yadier Molina against the Jays).
I tried my best to give the Blue Jays a free pass in April but after getting shut out by King Felix and the Mariners realistic postseason hopes are fading by the day. I’m not saying it will be impossible for them to either win the division or snag a wild card but it sure looks to be one tall order. Bad starts can sometimes be overblown but this team has some serious work to do to even get back to the .500 mark. Maybe they can win 20 games in a row like the Oakland Athletics did in 2002 but not if this pathetic stretch of baseball continues.
They can’t be this bad all season… at least I hope.
All stats are courtesy of FanGraphs.