In a few days I’ll be boarding a plane and heading for Australia on a two-week vacation.
Never been there before but I don’t think baseball’s too big down there. Especially the Jays. So between that and the fact I’m going to be in fucking Australia (note: !!!?!?!!!!?!) I probably won’t be paying a ton of attention to the team. I’ll be returning in early June, at which point the season will be a third complete.
Here are some of the things I hope to see when I return:
- Bullpen stability. Probably the biggest for me. This team is the return of its strong bullpen away from being a really good team. The lineup’s strong, the starters are on the good side of what we expected, and the fielding’s decent. It’s just the damn bullpen. With Janssen returning today my hope is that the bullpen goes on a nice run and when I return no one will be talking about bullpen meltdowns.
- Roster construction. At some point this eight-man bullpen’s got to go. If I come back and the team still has a shitty bench like it does now, I’ll be a sad koala. I’ve been pining for Darin Mastroianni since the team reacquired him earlier this year. He’d make a good fourth outfielder, a decent right-handed bat and a useful piece off the bench. A bench of Mastroianni, Francisco, Thole and pick your middle infielder looks downright ok to me.
- Dickey dominance. A good stretch of games from RA Dickey could go a long way towards making everyone feel better about the starters. I was thinking the other day: in a do-or-die game tomorrow who would I want to start? I have no idea. Buerhle’s good, but he’s not your shutdown guy. Dickey’s knuckleball can be awful at times. There’s Hutchison, but we’re already putting a lot on him. If Dickey can put together a nice string then the rotation has a little more clarity.
- Back end solutions. That leads me to my next item, the fourth and fifth starters. It’d be nice to have at least one guy among Happ, McGowan, Stroman (or maybe Nolin or Hendriks?) run with things. I know you can’t really expect much with the back end of any rotation, and that those guys are often moved moved in and out routinely, but with the FoR not exactly filled with aces, the back end needs to be better than average. Hopefully someone can establish themselves as a legit starter.
- Good health. The team’s been fairly fortunate so far, having not faced a plethora of injuries like in the previous few seasons. Hopefully that continues.
When I return the team will have played 58 games on the season. I’m gonna go ahead and say they should have 33 wins by then.