It’s certainly been an interesting first quarter of the season, hasn’t it?
The Yankees keep winning against all odds, and so do the Orioles. Farrell won manager of the year in April but now the BoSox seem to be struggling. The always strong Rays haven’t been all that strong.
And, oh yeah. Something something, Jays, blah blah. Fuck off.
Outside the AL East team that was supposed to face Toronto for the Pennant, the Josh Hamilton-led Angels are 4.5 games ahead of Houston for second last in the
division entire American League.
So what’s going on? Is this just some early season crazy that will sort itself out? There’s likely some of that going on. Tampa and Toronto have been playing better, Boston’s coming back to earth.
But even so, the Jays dug themselves such a whole early that playoffs may already be out of the question. I wouldn’t go that far, they’re 6.5 back of a wildcard spot with a lot of teams that aren’t that scary (KC, Minnesota, Seattle) ahead of them. But still, it’s a tall hill they have to climb.
So really, what can we consider to be a successful final three quarters of the season? Well, if they play .585 the rest of the way (a 95-win season) then they’re looking at an 87ish win season. That would be one win shy of their highest total since the World Series win. And based on last year’s finals it would be shy of the play-in game. But 87 wins could potentially be enough for the second wild card. You only have to go back to 2009 to find a season where 87 wins gets you into that position. Unfortunately that’s the only time in the past decade 87 wins would have been enough.Let’s go with a nice round number then, 85. If Toronto makes it to 85 wins I think we will be able to look back and say it was a successful season and be optimistic heading into 2014. Obviously not what we all wanted heading into the season, but also not the colossal failure we were staring at a few weeks ago.
Individually, I think it’s more interesting. Of course the Josh Johnson watch will be an interesting one. But I’m less interested in him considering he’s entering free agency. The rest of Dickey’s season will be an interesting one to watch. He’s been so-so…uh, so far. If his most recent performance is a sign of things to come and the knuckleballer plays great the rest of the way I think that will be huge for the team heading into 2014. It should silent any critics that remain and give the Jays a strong 1-2 punch with Morrow, regardless with what other moves happen.
Also at the top of my list of players to observe are JP Arencibia, Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus. For this season to be a success at least one of those guys have to take a huge step forward. Ideally it would be Lawrie. I’d say he still has the best potential and having him become an elite third baseman would be huge for the club. There are fallback options with Thole at catcher and plenty of in-house options in the outfield. Either way, one of those guys has to step up in my opinion.
Adam Lind is another interesting case. I have no idea what to think of his season thus far, and what he’ll bring the rest of the way. And even if he is great, is he just the Olympics of Major League Baseball and only comes around every four years or so?
There are some interesting story lines to follow the rest of the way. And who knows, they just might play well enough to be in the playoff hunt come September.