It’s amazing what starting pitching and defence can do.
The Jays finished off the second week of the season with a convincing series clincher against the Orioles. It was a game that finally saw the bats break out, and a good way to finish the week.
After last Sunday I figured the Jays would ideally something like 6-3 in the three upcoming series. They’re still in great position to do that, and who knows, a sweep against Minnesota is certainly doable.
And so far it’s been decent pitching and great fielding. Although, on the pitching front, it’s hard to look at the numbers and figure out how well the starters have actually been pitching. They’re middle of the pack in ERA, near the top in FIP, and near the bottom in xFIP. Frankly, that has me confused, and it’s likely just a case of early season statistical fun.
But by the eye test, it’s been more good than bad. Morrow and McGowan looked pretty good, as did Hutchison and Buerhle. Well, Buerhle looked like Buerhle, which somehow gets shit done.
Even Dickey’s start wasn’t as bad as some lamented. Sure the final numbers weren’t great but he got through the first four innings relatively unscathed. He even could have been yanked after six and finished with a respectable line, six innings and two runs. But that’s the way it is with the Dickster, it’s a fine line you’re always walking with him. Still, there’s some to like about his start. Makes one and half good starts, one and a half bad.
On the defensive side things look much better than last year. Melky’s so much better in the outfield, and Lawrie – though struggling with the bat – looks steady at third. The middle infield’s been good and Navarro’s strong behind the plate.
I’m skeptical with how much his presence affects the rest of the team, but things sure feel better with Navarro as opposed to our friend JPA (who is having a whale of a game right now). The fact he’s tough to strike out is just gravy.
Again, it’s super early, but the team’s DRS is sitting third at +8, while UZR/150 pegs them in at fifth, with a 19.5 rating.
Overall, it just feels better than last year. The team’s just north of .500, but the number of “oh shit why am I even watching?” games have been kept to a minimum.
And while this season’s looking pretty ok on the big league front, it isn’t going to stop me from getting excited about the farm system. Anthony Gose has walked seven times in seven games, and perhaps is beginning to develop enough of a bat to make him a useful piece. Stroman and Nolin have both had mixed results in their first couple games in Buffalo but certainly haven’t – judging by the box scores – done anything to suggest they’re taking a step back.
After two dominating starts from crown jewel Aaron Sanchez to start the year in AA, he laid a bit of a turd in his most recent game. But that’s going to happen, and I’m fully letting the good outshine the bad.
Further down, I think I’m full on jumping on the Daniel Norris bandwagon. He had a great second half last year and has picked up where he left off. In 11 innings, he’s struck out 11, given up only one run and especially impressive, he’s only walked one batter. He might be one of the first in line for a promotion and if he can handle the move to AA he’ll be right back in the thick of legitimate prospect debate.
Dwight Smith Jr., Dalton Pompey and KC Hobson also appear to be getting off to good starts. I have a soft spot for KC Hobson, who manned first base for many years in by OOTP franchise. Him and Jabari Blash, who was a Rule 5 pickup, anchored my offence. But I digress.
Further still down the pipeline, Mitch Nay, Matt Dean and DJ Davis all seem to be doing well in Lansing.
So it’s been pretty positive all around. Shitty news today about Izturis possibly missing the rest of the season. He’s not a huge part of the team but he was enjoying a bit of a resurgence and seems like a likable dude.
On the bright side, injury-wise, it appears Jose Reyes won’t be long. That’s a damned formidable lineup, with 1-6 looking downright scary, and the possibility of 7 and 8 being ok as well.
Bring on the Twins.