Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have started their descent into last place. They are only 3 games out of first, but this may be the point of the season where things start to resemble what the season will look like. Teams will start falling into their places. Hopefully, this is not the case for the Blue Jays, but there just doesn’t seem to be improvement in sight. The pitching has not been effective. The offense has yet to click together. The only saving grace is the defense, but that is not enough.
Save for a couple games, the Jays offense has been miserable. As of Saturday night, they sit 12th in the AL in batting average (.245), 10th in OPS (.719), 10th in hits (192) and 14th in 2B (34). Yet, they’re 3rd in HR with 27. They’ve scored 100 runs (6th in AL). So, once again, 2014 looks like a season where the Blue Jays rely on the long ball. To top it all off, they’ve struck out 172 times, which puts them in the middle of the pack. They’re averaging almost 7.5 K’s per game! Colby Rasmus himself contributes 1.3 K’s per game. I was surprised to see that Edwin Encarnacion has 25 K’s (just over one per game). Simply put, this offense is failing. I’d put a giant red F on them if it weren’t for a few bright spots. Brett Lawrie leads the team with 18 RBI. This would be good news, if it weren’t so easy to lead the team in anything. Jose Bautista is walking more than those old people at the mall. He leads the league with 27! He’s getting a walk almost every 4th at bat. his eye is locked in on the baseball right now. If he continues, he should put up a great season. To wit: Jays Journal writer Luca Silva explores Bautista’s plate discipline.
The Jays sit in 2nd spot in the AL with only 2 errors committed all month. TWO! All month! They also hold a fielding percentage of .991. Fans will know just how huge this is. Last year, defense was a revolving gong show. The defense this year has seemed to taken a giant leap forward. The defense seems to be anchored by the great play of guys like Jonathan Diaz. Colby Rasmus is the usual gazelle out in CF. Melky Cabrera is moving much better in LF. And, of course, we cannot forget my choice for 2014 Gold Glove at 3rd- Brett Lawrie. He’s taking his defense to a higher, more controlled level this season.