Jays From the Couch brings some silver lining to the dark cloud that is the Toronto Blue Jays 4 game losing streak
A 4 game losing streak sure isn’t that big a deal in the context of a full season of baseball. But, here the Blue Jays are on just such a skid that sees them with a 2-4 record. While most people are aware of the length of a MLB season and how little any 4 game sample means, there are also those who are ready to trade, fire, release, demote anyone and everyone out of frustration. That rage and frustration can be blinding sometimes.
In an effort to respond to the negativity that a 4 game losing streak can bring, JFtC brings you some silver lining. We look at two players who have been bright spots for the Blue Jays. Neither of these guys have changed the fate of the last 4 games, but have provided solid play in a period of the opposite. They are two bright spots: Darwin Barney and Joe Biagini.
When it was clear that Josh Donaldson would need to avoid taking the field for a few days, we wondered who would fill in at third base. Despite seeing Russell Martin take an inning at the hot corner, the club obviously needs to rely on someone a little more experienced. Barney has that kind of experience- a little. For his career, Barney had played a total of 7 games at third coming into this season. He’s now seen 3 in 2016. The Blue Jays obviously feel that his solid glove will play at any position. They can hang that idea on his 4 DRS at 3B for his career. While that is a far cry from his career mark of 51 DRS at 2B, it certainly is a better option than Martin. Besides, they need him for other things.
And, what has Barney done in his time in 2016? In 3 games, he’s slashing .375/.500/.375 with 2 runs and 2 SB. He has not struck out. Not once. He’s also showing an ability to use the whole field, with equal splits between pulling the ball and going oppo. His 3 hits have all been singles, which does not come as a surprise, but are certainly a welcome sight. Can we ask for much more from a defense first back up? He’s putting the bat on the ball with a nearly 91% contact rate. Indeed, he’s filled in nicely.
The 25 yr old Rule 5 claim made his MLB debut against the Red Sox and did so in pretty grand fashion. He struck out David Ortiz in his first outing. He would go on to finish the inning with no damage. Thus far, in 2016, Biagini has only seen action in 2 innings, so we need to see more from him before we jump aboard that hype train. Except, the Blue Jays bullpen (and its usage) has been suspect to start the season and Biagini stands out as silver lining to that dark cloud.
In his 2 innings of work, he’s faced 8 batters and only given up one hit and one walk. That translates to a 25% K rate and a 12.5% walk rate. If he can limit the free passes a bit more, we’re looking at an absolute steal for the Blue Jays. His fastball is sitting at just under 94mph, which he is mixing with a change that is 10mph slower and a curve.
The fact that he’s not allowed any damage is something that we should celebrate, SSS not withstanding. Among his current group of relievers, there aren’t too many that can say that. His 100% left on base mark will undoubtedly decline. He is going to give up runs, but in a time when many are losing their minds about the Blue Jays bullpen, Biagini is delivering.
When a season is only 6 games old, 4 losses really stand out. But, in all of that there are two guys who stand out for their positive contributions. Darwin Barney and Joe Biagini have been bright spots thus far and are likely to be overshadowed by Donaldson’s grand slam or Jose Bautista‘s 2 HR game. Aaron Sanchez‘s first start of the season certainly garnered some love. But, at the moment, there seems to be little to celebrate. Barney and Biagini offer some silver lining.
*Featured Image Credit: Keith Allison UNDER: CC-BY-SA2.0
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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.