The Blue Jays upcoming set against the Red Sox can feel like a sink or swim series in terms of where the Jays currently stand, with only 2 wins to their name.
One lucky thing is that Boston is also currently suffering a power outage so far this year, with only 6 home runs to their name, good for dead last in the majors. On the other hand, they lead the majors in striking out the least. That definitely cannot be said for the Blue Jays, unfortunately. Far from it.
What’s most infuriating from a fan perspective is our seeming inability to cash in runs. It’s been written about extensively by us and the rest of the Blue Jays media, but our astoundingly high LOB numbers almost every night has added up to a staggering loss column.
Thus it almost feels like this series with Boston is more than just a barometer. It is more than that – a potential statement series if the Jays can claim victory in two the three contests. If the Blue Jays continue on their current path, it’ll feel like a long time to wait until July and August for a rebuild, which don’t kid yourself, will happen at this rate.
Mike Wilner is right when he keeps saying it’s too early. We must concede that. The Jays have shown themselves to be a streaky team and to be honest several of their losses could’ve easily gone the other way, given the hard-fought battles and close outcomes. Thank goodness for Kendrys Morales but we need other guys coming through in clutch situations too. That’s how you win ball games.
With Morales, it’s the long ball, but a big hit can be a single with runners in scoring position. That’s good for 2 runs usually. Why try and swing for the fences for an extra run? Or going back to Morales, a bases load walk will do just fine too, as he did on one occasion. That’s just good hitting.
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As someone once said, “you have to let the game come to you.” And that’s exactly right. I know, easier said than done, especially with the arsenal and velocity of current major league pitching. It is the age of the strikeout. The essence of the quote is true: be patient and calm enough to swing at pitches you can drive.
Unfortunately, an awful lot of centre-cut fastballs seem to be going by our guys too. I don’t know maybe they’re sitting on off-speed when that happens? Since I started the paragraph with a baseball adage I’ll end it with an equally vital one: the best pitch in baseball is strike 1. There’s no reason why our hitters should be looking at those tasty heaters go by.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe is always helpful when wanting the goods on the Sox so have a look at the earlier link (at the top of the article) for more intel on the series that lies ahead by the way.
Actually have a look at this tweet too regarding the various ailments that have been going through the Red Sox clubhouse. That has to play a factor unless they’ve already convalesced to full health:
Very worthy of note also is that the Jays won’t be facing the advertised “marquee pitching” of the Bosox that we’ve been hearing about all off-season and spring: Eduardo Rodriguez is a scratch tonight due to family leave (birth of a child. Congratulations!). Good news potentially for the Jays too as we are facing a call-up today and Rick Porcello on Wednesday, currently sporting a very un-Cy Young-like 7.56 ERA. Unfortunately, though we do run into Chris Sale on Thursday who is keeping his ERA at a cool 1.25.
For the Jays, they’ll keep rolling with Marcus Stroman, Francisco Liriano, and Marco Estrada. Beyond that, there are some obvious question marks with J.A. Happ’s shoulder and Sanchez on the DL for his blister issue. Hopefully, they’ll both bounce back healthy.
Regardless of what subjective significance one wants to put on it, it’s hard to argue the enormity of this series. Potentially the Jays could begin climbing their way out of the gutter, or just continue to dig a deeper grave for the 2017 season.
First pitch is at 7:07 EST tonight from Rogers Centre. As mentioned, it’ll be Stroman facing southpaw Brian Johnson, just recalled from triple-A Pawtucket.