Ugh, phew, OMG, sweet, ugh, YES!, meh.
That’s pretty much my take on the Jays season after seven games. There was some good, some bad, and some ugly.
If there was ever a way not to start off this campaign it was pretty much what happened opening day. A blowout and key injury to Jose Reyes started this season on some really ominous tones. But – and I have no logical answer to why I feel this way – I have a feeling that a key difference this year is things aren’t going to spiral out of control. It could be the fact they aren’t facing the same insane hype as last year, perhaps it’s just a team more relaxed with each other, or maybe the lack of the World Baseball Classic has the players feeling more comfortable. I don’t know, and it could all just be bullshit, but I don’t think this is going to be a year where things get out of hand.
Though that doesn’t mean I’m super stoked for postseason baseball, or even anything close to that. There are some definite warts on this squad. It starts with the rotation. Dickey did his best Jekyll and Hyde, Hutchison to a lesser extent did as well. Morrow wasn’t great and neither was McGowan.
Mark Buerhle had an ok game, I guess. Yeah, he dominated. And yeah, I think he’ll do better with Dinner Navarro behind the plate. But, we more or less know what we’re getting with him.
I still see a rotation that can do enough. And the fact Aaron Sanchez started his AA career with a dominating performance helps dream on the nearish term future. But still, the pitching is iffy at best. Todd Redmond’s performance in relief today helps the confidence level a bit. If needed I think he can step in and complete some spot starts.
The lineup looks like it could be strong. But again, if there are some key injuries to some of the big offensive guys things could change quickly. Even with just one injury to Reyes, the bottom of the order looks atrocious. Diaz and Goins as your 8-9 is not great, though I’ve always kinda liked Diaz and am glad to hear some whispers that he might stay up when Reyes returns. I almost feel like the team could squeeze enough out of Diaz, Izturis (who looks like it might be a rebound year for the wee Maicer), and Goins to make the position look decent.
Melky looks great to start the year, a complete reversal of last year. I got laughed at a bit online earlier today about bringing the topic up, but I wouldn’t mind seeing them start contract talks early. With him and Rasmus both set to be free agents, the team has to address the long term outfield situation. And with Rasmus being such an enigma the past few years I actually feel more confident with what the Melkman brings. Maybe they start talks with Cabrera if he’s still looking strong a month or two from now.
While a few players – Encarnacion, Rasmus and Lawries, namely – are off to a slow start, this still looks like an offence that can contribute. It seems like this year they have enough talent that they can deal with a key player on a cold spell.
It was nice to see some big crowds in the opening home series. Though 3-4 isn’t a great record, it’s pretty decent considering the opposition. A .500 record against the AL East would be a great target for them. But that means they have to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat.
The team has a three game series against Houston coming up, followed by three against Baltimore and three against the Twins. Best case would be 7-2, sweeping either Minnesota or Houston and winning the other two series. That’s certainly attainable. A 10-5 record after 15 would be a great start to the year.
This year’s team, to me, feels like one that’ll be a slightly above .500 most of the way and needs that one strong stretch where they win 10 of 12.
Either way, it’s damned beautiful to have baseball back.