|Courtesy of Yahoo|
The start of the 2013 season began with much anticipation for the Toronto Blue Jays; and although it came with some mixed results, week one is now officially in the books.
It came with it’s share of juicy story lines, (Dickey struggles at the Home Opener, Bautista’s injury, Farrell’s return, the bevvy of home runs), so here are a few brief thoughts on what happened this past week in Blue Jays Land.
Programming note: Patrick and Chris were kind enough to have me on the Triple Play Podcast yesterday to talk about week one for the Blue Jays, so have a listen to the podcast. The Blue Jays segment starts about halfway through.
The Sky is Falling … It Is Not
The Major League Baseball season is an extremely long one; 162 games in total, 27 weeks, 6 months long. It truly is a grind; and that’s why they say a baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint.
Unlike the NFL, people don’t have to stew over losses for six days until the next matchup. In baseball, there is almost always another game the very next day. 24 hours later, it’s a brand new ballgame.
These are things to keep in mind after a 2-4 week by the Toronto Blue Jays and a 13-0 drubbing at the hands of the Boston Red Sox. It’s a long, long season.
At the risk of sounding like your atypical baseball manager, that game is now in the rear view mirror and Tuesday is a brand new day and the beginning of a new series against the Detroit Tigers.
Expectations for the 2013 Blue Jays are sky high, and they absolutely should high. If this were a 16-game NFL schedule, a 2-4 record might be cause for concern. But it’s not … only 4% of the schedule is down and there are 156 more games to play.
Jeff Blair described it best when R.A. Dickey was getting booed on Sunday; fans weren’t booing the player per se, they were booing the situation. Fans were booing the fact that their number one starter was getting rocked.
Personally, I don’t condone that kind of behaviour from fans, but I certainly understand it.
Don’t Worry About Dickey
After a pair of bad starts this week, R.A. Dickey’s debut in a Blue Jays uniform didn’t go quite as expected. Then again, it’s only two starts … and it’s a very long season.
Dickey wasn’t the only high profile starter to get roughed up for eight earned runs yesterday, the same also happened to AL Cy Young Winner David Price, Matt Cain and even Cole Hamels.
So I’m willing to chalk it up to just a bad day at the office for R.A. Dickey.
In fact, the Atlanta Braves roughed up Dickey for eight 8 runs in 4.1 innings in early April as well, and then R.A. went 18-5 with a 2.50 ERA the rest of the way, and it netted him a Cy Young Award.
R.A. Dickey even noted himself that he’s a bit of a slow starter, and the numbers reflect that; career he has a 4.93 ERA in April, and then it drops nearly a full run to 3.94 in May, and then 3.24 lifetime in the month of June.
The Boomsticks Were Out
Not only were the Blue Jays launching baseballs left, right and centre out of the Rogers Centre this week, so was the opposition. In total, 25 home runs were hit in six games played in Toronto.
It really has been feast or famine for the Blue Jays this week, as 18 of their 22 runs scored this week came via the home run. That means 82% of their runs that crossed the plate this week were due to the longball.
Although this team has to potential to manufacture runs, unfortunately the Blue Jays haven’t had very much luck with that. Not to mention, they’re dead last in the Majors with a team .091 AVG with runners in scoring position.
So looking at those numbers, frankly it’s surprising the Blue Jays managed to scrounge up enough runs to win two games this week and not drop all six of them against the Indians and Red Sox.
Colby Crushes One
Colby Rasmus truly was two different players this week; he struck out six times in the first four games, and then he found his power stroke and started absolutely launching balls over the outfield fence.
Most notably, the home run above traveled 468 feet in total, which was the furthest home run hit in all of baseball this past week. The ball bounced off the facing in the third deck in dead centre field, and frankly I’m surprised it didn’t go higher than it did.
It’s amazing how effortless and fluid that swing looked by Colby Rasmus. There has been glimmers of it in the past, most predominantly on this grand slam in Spring Training and this moonshot at Yankee Stadium last August.
Hopefully that was just the first of many towering home runs Rasmus will hit this season for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Reyes the On Base Machine
One of the bright spots this week on the Blue Jays roster was unquestionably Jose Reyes. He managed to get in base in all six games this week, and he lead off the first five games for the Blue Jays by getting on base.
That is precisely what this Blue Jays lineup needs; a tablesetter at the top of the order than can get on base for guys with power like Miguel Cabrera, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
Although, there were a few scary moments with Reyes after he bonked his noggin on Asdrubal Cabrera’s shin on Thursday and then got tagged in the nether region on Saturday. The fact is that aside from perhaps Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes is the most important bat in the Blue Jays lineup right now.
Despite the Blue Jays batting a paltry 0.091 with RISP, they simply cannot afford to have Jose Reyes miss any time due to injury. It would upset the entire balance of the lineup and would completely change the dynamic of that order.
Luckily Jose Reyes shook those things off, and continues to get on base; reaching in 14 of 22 at bats so far, which translates to a .519 on base percentage. A small sample size mind you, but that’s an extremely promising start for the new Blue Jays leadoff man.