Are the Toronto Blue Jays a Lamborghini or a Chevy?
The Toronto Blue Jays may not be playing like it of late, but they are still best in class. They just need to outpace the rest of the AL.
I’m sure we’ve all been there before: you take your brand new 2017 Lamborghini Centenario out for a quick spin around town. You blow past everyone else, who are left suffering in their dime-a-dozen Honda Civics and Ford 150s. Along the way, you stop by the McDonald’s drive-through window and add a whole new layer of significance to the concept of fast food.
“Are we there yet?” your passenger asks. “We were always there,” you respond.
This car is powerful. This car is impressive. This car is built to win and embarrass the competition. This car is yours. After topping 300 km/h on Main Street, you hit a red light. At the stop, a 1993 Ford Mustang GT pulls up beside you. You know the one – the one sporting the “5L” engine, after-market spoiler and five-spoke chrome rims. It’s a dependable car. In its own day, it was even a somewhat impressive car, but it’s nothing idling next to your Lambo.
Before the light turns green, you exchange glances with the other driver. You both know what’s supposed to happen next: the light turns green, you hit the gas, and your expressive, handmade Italian masterpiece of a vehicle stalls while the very beatable Mustang gallops off into the sunset.
Like your Lamborghini, this year’s edition of the Toronto Blue Jays are built to win. They’re built to crush clubs like the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and Detroit Tigers. It’s hard to believe the Tampa Bay Rays play in the same division as the Jays, let alone the same league. The Jays are this good, and that’s why it hurts whenever they falter against a lesser team (and there a lot of lesser teams).
We expect the Jays to win. We demand that they win. We can feel the momentum build whenever the bats come alive, whenever the starters go deep, whenever Roberto Osuna steps onto the mound for the Final Act. What we can also feel, however, is a great sense of unease and uncertainty whenever things go wrong.
You can take the Jays’ recent series against the Athletics and their current series against the Mariners as the two perfect examples. We’re supposed to dismantle teams like this – one is a rusted-out Pontiac Sunfire, the other is an over-glorified Chrysler 300M – so when we lose to these two teams, it stings. It stings hard, real hard.
On most July afternoons, the Centenario beats the Sunfire and 300M, but there are those rare days when due to driver error, weather conditions, or a strange pity for competition, the upset occurs. That’s how I like to view these two series, but there just two series.
The Jays will get their chance to enact a little late-season revenge on the Mariners when the two teams meet up in September. Seattle currently enjoys a 2-0 lead in the six-game season series (at the time of writing), but I’m content knowing the Jays can still rush out in front from nowhere to topple the Mariners, securing a series split at the very least. Toronto will even enjoy home field advantage when the two clubs meet at Safeco Field in September – nothing beats the luxury of racing on home-foreign turf.
On the other hand, the Jays will have to settle for a 3-3 series split with the Athletics this season. The good news? Absent a pair of flat tires, the Jays could have easily swept the Athletics in their last series. You can blame poor starts from Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey for the losses, but they were far from inevitable or foreseeable. This should count for something.
I’m not even confident in that Dodge Challenger of a Baltimore Orioles team – are they legitimate? I have my doubts: if last season taught Jays fans anything, it’s that offence alone can win every night. The Boston Red Sox – shall we refer to them as a souped up Dodge Caravan? They definitely have the youngsters on hand to fill up the back seats while proven veterans like David Price, David Ortiz, and Craig Kimbrel are there to provide a parental presence – but you can only push a Caravan so hard. They’ll need to hit up a Dairy Queen at some point.
What really concerns me is that Porsche 911 R running alongside us. The Houston Astros began the season in quite a hole, but if the Jays have been one of MLB’s hottest teams over their last 30 games, the Astros are the hottest team in baseball over this span. With every loss to the Athletics and the Mariners, the Jays have allowed the Astros to gain some ground on them. We need to stop this, and stop it fast.
There’s still no need to panic, however. When you lose a race behind the wheel of such an awesome car, the Auto Trader shouldn’t be the first thing that comes to your find. You’ll just have to chase down those Sunfires and 300Ms tomorrow. You should have the same perspective when it comes to the Jays. We’re the Lamborghini – the rest of the league are Lamborghini wannabes.
*Featured Image Credit: C Stem- JFtC
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