The Toronto Blue Jays must find a way to turn the tide on their traditionally slow starts in April if they want to be legitimate contenders in the AL East in 2018.
Year in and year out the Jays have stumbled out of the proverbial gate to begin the season digging themselves a hole from the onset of the season.
Last season the Jays were dreadful in the month April going 8-17. John Gibbons and company were 8 games out of first place by the end of the month and remained sequestered in the AL East cellar until nearly the end of September.
The majority of last seasons April woes can be attributed to the bullpen who fell flat on their face to begin the season. The stat lines were ugly, to say the least, the bullpen contingent will need to be much better when camp breaks this time around.
Roberto Osuna 5.63 ERA in 8 games
Jason Grilli 7.27 ERA in 10 games
Ryan Tepera 5.93 ERA in 10 games
J.P. Howell 16.20 ERA in 5 games
Dominic Leone 4.76 ERA in 10 games
Even during the Jays back to back playoff appearances in 2015 and 16, they faltered early before righting the ship. In 2016 they were 11-14 and in 15 they rounded out April with an 11-12 record.
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With both the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox presumably better than last year and poised for at least 90 win seasons the Jays have to channel their winning ways from the first pitch to remain with the pack.
There has been chatter around the Jays camp that the veterans will see more consistent action early on in the Grapefruit League season than in previous campaigns. The thought is the players will be better positioned to hit the ground running when the team heads north for the regular season.
The Jays can ill afford to dig themselves a hole in the first month of the season once again, their entire season may depend on if they come out like a lion or lamb, let’s hope they roar in 2018.