Blue Jays: Things are good, and they could get better yet

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Luke Maile
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 17: Luke Maile /

The Blue Jays have had a great start, going 11-5 after their two wins on Tuesday. While things are going very well, they haven’t reached their potential yet by any means.

If you asked Blue Jays fans if they’d be willing to trade three days off for a double-header sweep, most would happily oblige. That’s exactly what they got on Tuesday against the Kansas City Royals by winning their afternoon game by a score of 11-3, and a 5-4 walk-off victory in the 10th inning on the strength of Luke Maile‘s latest heroic hit.

The wins bring the Blue Jays to 11-5 on the young season, already a much better start than they had last year when they started the campaign 8-17 in the opening month. With 12 games remaining before the month comes to a close, they have a chance to set up their year in the right direction.

Naturally there have been plenty of bright sports when you’re six games over .500, and the new additions like Yangervis Solarte, Curtis Granderson, and Aledmys Diaz would certainly qualify as such. Solarte hit another home run on Tuesday, and Diaz and Granderson have both provided plenty of value early on. The Jays also had above average production from returning veterans like Justin Smoak, Kevin Pillar, and Steve Pearce, and even Luke Maile has suddenly become a threat at the plate.

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What makes the Blue Jays even more fun to think about is what could happen if they start firing on all cylinders. For example, they won both games of their double-header without their best hitter, Josh Donaldson. The roster is relatively healthy at the moment, but let’s not forget they’re missing Troy Tulowitzki as well, which is a big reason why Solarte and Diaz have had so much opportunity to shine in the early going.

For everything that’s gone well, they’re still waiting for the bats of Devon Travis, Randal Grichuk and Russell Martin to snap out of their funks. Entering Tuesday’s games, Travis had just three hits in his first 38 at bats, and Grichuk equally him in 42 tries. Travis had one hit in the first game before sitting down, and also stung another ball in the 2nd inning. Grichuk showed some steps in the right direction as well, picking up a double and home run in the first game of the day. For Martin, the Canadian backstop entered Tuesday with a batting average of .152, and just five hits in 33 at bats.

On the pitching side, the Blue Jays haven’t had their best from their expected ace this season yet either. Everyone has been healthy to open the season which is a big plus, but we’ve yet to see the best of Marcus Stroman who is currently carrying a 7.98 ERA and a 1.909 WHIP through his first three starts. There’s no need to over react over three turns through the rotation, but it’s hard to believe the talented right-hander will go anywhere but up from here.

Don’t get me wrong, the things I’m pointing out aren’t exactly complaints, and I’m not going to sit here and lament an 11-5 start. It’s just that I’m thrilled to see the Blue Jays playing such inspired baseball to start the year, and they’re doing it without being at full capacity. Adding the ceiling production of Donaldson, Tulowitzki, Stroman, Grichuk, Travis, and more could make this an even scarier club than the AL is already learning they are.

As things are, it’s been pretty fun to watch the Blue Jays so far this season, and if we’re lucky, this team could get a lot better yet.

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