Happy Victoria Day to you all. It feels a little odd not to see Blue Jays baseball being played this holiday, but alas, the Jays will get underway with some action at Yankee Stadium tomorrow evening.
It will be a battle of third and fifth place in the division, as the Blue Jays are currently the cellar-dwellers of the AL East, but the Yankees are not all that far behind. Needless to say, not many expected these two clubs to be where they are right now.
It was an eventful weekend in Blue Jays Land, so here’s a summary of the three biggest topics in this week’s edition of “3 Up 3 Down”.
Donaldson Doesn’t Appreciate the Antics
It was an interesting weekend for Josh Donaldson in Minnesota. He seemingly waged a war against the Twins in the four game series; getting ejected in the first inning on Saturday, and then barking with the Twins dugout on Sunday.
Then Donaldson put MLB on blast for the way they treat players and the subject of beanball specifically. He’s completely right, by the way; baseball has the most passive-aggressive way of dealing with conflict.
For example; hit one of the biggest home runs in your team’s franchise history, and then expect to get thrown at seven months later. The Blue Jays have experienced their fair share of petty arguments this week alone. At some point, MLB has to step in and stop protecting the aggressors and instead protect the guys who are getting fastballs thrown intentionally at them.
Baseball is such a traditionalist’s sport, so unfortunately it’s going to take something drastic to change the system. Things will stay status quo until an extremely high profile player gets hurt; only then will MLB consider changing the way it polices the game.
Just look back at the way the Jose Bautista/Rougned Odor altercation was handled; did the umpires or Major League Baseball in any way protect Jose Bautista? If anything, I feel like Bautista had to take things into his own hands; he slid aggressively into second base because justice wasn’t served after he was thrown at intentionally.
Was that the right way to retaliate? Not in a perfect world, but at times, it feels like the only way to even things out is for players to enforce their own vigilante justice. Guys like Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson shouldn’t have to do that; the umpires and the governing body at MLB should do that for them.
The Lineup is Sort of Waking Up
Prior to the Blue Jays’ series in Minnesota, I wrote about how the Blue Jays had no virtually excuse not to tag the Twins for double digit runs. Luckily, they took three of four games in the series, but the Jays only squeaked out a few of those wins.
The Blue Jays faced the worst statistical pitching staff in the American League, so they were supposed to win. But the Blue Jays didn’t come away quite as handily with those games as they should have. And I’m not entirely confident the lineup has turned the corner yet.
This series against the Yankees won’t be a litmus test for the Blue Jays either, as the Yankees only have a slightly better pitching staff than the Twins. If it wasn’t for the Yankees’ shutdown bullpen, who knows how much further back they would be in the division.
Again, the Blue Jays need to tee off against the Yankees and they should tee off against the Yankees. But if they don’t, there will be even more questions than answers.
Gibby’s Short Work Week
Not that this means anything, but John Gibbons only managed two full games from start to finish this week … yes, two games. He was either suspended or ejected from six of the Blue Jays’ last eight games.
Some are wondering whether John Gibbons’ short fuse this week will somehow cost him his job, and I don’t really subscribe to that theory. It just so happens the Blue Jays have had a hell of a week; they got into a brawl with the Rangers, and Gibby had to save Josh Donaldson from getting ejected for two consecutive games.
The optics weren’t all that great for Gibby this week, as his meltdowns usually coincided with the Jays’ meltdowns, but it’s hardly a good reason to turf John Gibbons at this point in the season.
I’ll fully admit that his leash isn’t incredibly long right now, but all it takes is a winning streak or some series wins to make people forget and to shift the “fire Gibby” focus somewhere else.