Every year a team comes out of the gate on fire. They win 20 in April or something like that and take the baseball world by storm.
And every year my dad grumbles about how he never wants to see a team storm out of the gate, because invariably they’ll come crashing down at some point. I remind him that a win’s a win, doesn’t matter if you get it in April or August. He’ll typically grumble something along the lines of “yeah, but still, don’t like to see them on fire early.”
While he’s wrong in thinking that every team that starts out hot will hit an equal or exceeding cold streak – the season ebbs and flows of its own volition, there’s no telling when a team will be hot – his sentiment isn’t entirely wrong.
Last year the Colorado Rockies won 16 games in the first month of the season. With Troy Tulowitzki putting up a ridiculous .503 wOBA in the first month, heads were turned. Then, in June and July combined they won 16 games, going 16-37 in that span and taking up their project residence near the bottom of the NL West.
The team wasn’t projected to be great, I just dug an old Grantland article that pegged them for last in the division, so the early hot streak was basically the one hot streak a team’s bound to have in a six-month span when it’s composed of professional baseball players.
So that’s where my dad’s line of thinking is both right and wrong. You have to look at the context. You have to consider the team that starts out on fire, and the way in which they win.
And it’s the latter that I think makes the start in 2015 for the Jays promising. Don’t kid yourself, they’ve started out on fire – or at least as on fire as three games can make. In its opening series in Yankee Stadium against a division rival, the team has been tied or led for all but a single inning. That’s impressive.
There are varying opinions on the quality of the roster heading into the season, but no one can say they are an unequivocally bad team. Question marks? Absolutely. Not a division winner? A possibility for sure. But bad? Not a chance.
So taking two out of three in the Bronx, in fairly convincing fashion I might add, is a great sign. The team’s not playing stupid good. There hasn’t been a May 2014 Edwin Encarnacion performance these first three games. Sure, Devon Travis has been a pleasant surprise thus far and may stumble in the coming weeks or months. But it’s not like his performance has been unreasonably good. And it’s not like he has to continue as he’s started for the team to succeed.
Castrosuna might be the only area where the team is getting unexpectedly high performance. And the only reason it’s unexpected is because they’re so young and relatively new to the scene. But they’re legitimately getting guys out, Castro especially. They’re not lucking their way into shutdown outings.
The Yankees series was a convincing success despite the fact Jose Reyes, Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin and Jose Bautista haven’t done much. To only be losing for one inning out of 27 when your top four guys haven’t been anything close to top four guys is a great sign.
Yes, it’s stupid early. But there’s little not to like so far.
Now bring on the OrioLOLes