Could Blue Jays’ Season be Set to Take Off?
The Blue Jays completed the month of April with a disappointing 11-12 record. Many fans were questioning the optimism and excitement they brought into the opening game at Yankee Stadium. Watching Devon Travis lead the charge against the Yankees with his first MLB hit that went for a home run had everyone riding high. But, as the month wore on and the starting rotation pitched its way to a bottom feeding performance and the bullpen yielded as many question as ever, fans became more skeptical about how this season would go.
The calendar flipped to May and there was a flurry of roster moves. The youth movement that was so heavily touted in March had begun to thin out. Dalton Pompey and Miguel Castro were sent down. Daniel Norris joined them. Of course, those three weren’t the only ones to stumble. The rotation had been spinning its tires. The bullpen was in flux. What’s more, the high ceiling offense had been hot one night and cold the next.
But, now, we are 8 games further ahead and things are starting to look up. After beating the Red Sox 7-1 on Saturday, the Blue Jays are 16-15 and making a climb up the standings in the AL East. Now, before we continue, I am well aware that we are still 131 games away from the end of the season and it is still early. Moreover, 8 games is not a large enough sample size to draw definitive conclusions. All that aside, it would appear that things are turning around for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The starting rotation appears to be improving slowly. Just recently, Aaron Sanchez chipped in a 7 inning performance of shut out ball against the Red Sox. Drew Hutchison followed that with a strong-ish outing Saturday. In fact, since May began, the pitching staff went from an ERA of 4.78 (29th in MLB) to 3.86 (13th). Yes, it’s early, but this is a good sign. It is more in line with what we’d expect from them. They couldn’t possibly be as brutal as they’d been in April. Could they?
Toronto Blue Jays
The offense has been carried by the likes of Devon Travis and Kevin Pillar. Really, the only “big bat” that has been living up to its hype is that of Josh Donaldson. Russell Martin struggled out of the gate. Jose Bautista was hitting .164 while Edwin Encarnacion hit just above the Mendoza Line at .205. As well, the club has been missing Jose Reyes for a significant amount of time. When he was playing, he provided limited production due to only hitting right handed because of his rib injury. In total, the Blue Jays hit .248. In May, they are 2nd best in baseball with a .300 average. The fact that the Minnesota Twins are 1st tells you all you need to know about how much stock we should put into 8 games.
That said, the Toronto Blue Jays still have not seen even an average Bautista or Encarnacion. What will this offense be capable of when it starts firing on all cylinders? They already lead MLB with 169 runs. Just how scary can this lineup be? Can they be even more consistent than 12 runs one day and zero the next? And, they don’t even need guys to have career years. They just need everyone performing at their usual level. They haven’t been yet. Look out for when they do.
With an improving pitching staff and an offense that isn’t even living up to its full potential, the Toronto Blue Jays look like a very threatening team in the AL East. While a month of May (they went 20-9) like they had last year may be impossible to duplicate, this club is looking primed to turn things around form their sub .500 April. In case you were wondering, they were at 18-18 at this point last May. Time will tell if this current performance is a sign of things to come or just a peak in an up and down season. Is all of this just one side of the pendulum swing that is a full season of baseball?
Have your say below. Is this a good sign for the future? Or, is this just a peak among inevitable valleys?