Taking a second to appreciate the positives on the 2023 Blue Jays
The first week of May has seen the Toronto Blue Jays experience their first prolonged slump of the season that was finally broken with a 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.
After a heartbreaking final game of the last homestand against the Seattle Mariners that featured a blown four-run lead, an ugly, four-game sweep at the hands of the Boston Red Sox followed.
While it’s easy to dwell on the negativity of the last handful of games and feel like the sky is falling, here are some positives to focus on until things get back on track.
Blue Jays Positives: Big Three leads the way
Despite the recent slide, the Jays have received persistent, prolific production from their star trio of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Matt Chapman.
Chapman made a slight adjustment to his swing before the season, adding a toe tap instead of a leg kick, and the early results have been tremendous.
The 30-year-old won the American League Player of the Month after hitting .372 with 20 extra-base hits and an OPS of 1.150 in April. He’s cooled off a bit since the calendar turned to May, but he’s been locked in from the get-go, which will net him a sizeable contract when he becomes a free agent after this season.
Bo Bichette is leading the AL in hits, with 46, and has MLB-high 74 total bases. As impressive as his traditional numbers have been, Bo’s ability to cut down on his strikeouts (SO % 15.9, down from 22.2 in 2022) and errors (just three so far) show a willingness to improve that is admirable.
Vladdy has also mashed through the first 30-plus games of 2023 and shows no signs of slowing down. He’s even stayed hot through the debacle at Fenway Park, hitting .389 (7/18) with two home runs and a pair of doubles. Guerrero has also trimmed his strikeout rate to 12.4%, the lowest of his career.
Daulton Varsho’s recent hot streak (1.054 OPS, 2 HR in last seven games), Whit Merrifield’s consistency, and Chris Bassitt’s rebound from a nightmare debut are other notable bright spots. There have been some encouraging starts from Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi, both understandable question marks coming in, and a promising return of Nate Pearson.
An ugly stretch of games is always painful, but there are always positives to build on, and considering some of the team’s most important players haven’t gotten going, there should be much more to look forward to.