The Toronto Blue Jays are on a winning streak and we have to wonder if they are as good as they seem
The Toronto Blue Jays got off to a terrible start to the 2019 season. It was like they forgot how to hit. The pitching was great, but it didn’t matter because the offense was non-existent. Fast forward a couple weeks and the boys in blue are on a bit of a roll- a roll that includes a sweep of the Oakland Athletics in Oakland. Toronto went in to Cali and ran right over a rather good A’s team.
So, it begs the question: are they really this good?
No one would have said the Blue Jays are a playoff team in 2019, not when management goes on record and says that they will use this season to ‘find their core’ for future years. The expectations were set pretty low. In fact, the first few games were an adjustment period as fans who were resigned to losing had to come to grips with exactly what that might look like.
And, yet, here we are approaching the end of April and the Blue Jays are sitting on a 11-12 record, going 7-3 over their last ten games. They picked up 4 games on the first place Rays and are in a rather nice third place in the AL East. Again, no one figures them for a playoff team, and focusing on the standings this early in the season is silly, but it is a rather interesting situation to be in. For example, we knew the Orioles would be terrible. Their 8-15 record makes sense. But, could we have expected this from Toronto?
Despite their early offensive struggles, the Blue Jays now have outscored opponents by 7 runs, a feat that would have seemed impossible 2 weeks ago. They outscored Oakland 20-6 in their 3 games, showing signs of life in those bats. But, is it real? Well, the club still sits in 24th place in MLB with 1.04 HR/gm, 22nd with 4.13 R/gm, 22nd with a .232 avg and 23rd with an OPS of 0.683. That is obviously heavily weighted by their early struggles. Can we trust the current offensive production? We still haven’t seen guys like Danny Jansen hit their stride at the plate. Is there more to come?
One thing we do know is that the pitching has been a breath of fresh air. They’re currently 6th with a 3.34 ERA, 8th with a 1.217 WHIP and 13th with 9.28 K/9. Marcus Stroman appears back to his effective self and up until this weekend, Aaron Sanchez seemed healthy. Matt Shoemaker was looking more and more like a rather shrewd pick up. Of course, his ACL had different plans for him and he will now be out for the season.
Toronto’s pitching will be put to the test now. They’ll need someone to fill Shoe’s spot and, depending on how much time he misses, Sanchez’. Not only will we need to see if current pieces can continue their good showing(s), we will also need to see if there is really pitching depth to cover the losses, or are there just warm bodies?
Are the Toronto Blue Jays as bad as their first few games? Are they as good as their last few? The answer is likely somewhere in the middle. Every team will go through ups and downs. They’ll see small win streaks, they are likely to see 10 games streaks of plus .500 ball. They will definitely see their share of injuries to cover. Just ask the New York Yankees about that.
For the Toronto Blue Jays, they could finish with a record well below .500, or they could continue to break even every month. Nothing would surprise. Well, a winning record may come as a surprise. Likely, this team will see a revolving door of players as the season goes along. Guys like Socrates Brito and Alen Hanson aren’t likely to last long. We expect this to be the case this season as management tries to figure out what they have in place for the future.
In 2019, wins and losses won’t really matter. How the team comes together and prepares for the future will be more important. That is where this whole conversation comes to mind. Just how good is this team? Or, just how bad are they? So far, in April, it is difficult to really say. They’ve seen good pitching, terrible hitting and then some good hitting.
It might be too early to tell. It also might be that this current run is the flow that comes before and after an ebb. It will be interesting to see how the Blue Jays build on this. Time will tell just how good this team is.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.