Toronto Blue Jays and the A.L. East Weekly Update

With the first full week in the books, Jays From the Couch will take a look at the American League East Division. Join us each week as we will breakdown for you how the Blue Jays are faring within the craziest division in baseball.

 

After one week it seems, what many call the hardest division in baseball to predict, is playing out exactly as planned. It is, however, far too early to put much weight into a week’s worth of games, but the numbers can give us some insight to how each team has gotten to this point.

Standings

STandings ALE-1

Breakdown

Baltimore: Off to their hottest start since 1970, the year when they won their second World Series, the Orioles sitting at 5-0, is somewhat surprising. While the ten runs against look fantastic for their pitching staff, truth is, their starting pitching has only managed to pitch 51% of their team’s total forty-five (45), through five games. Outside of a rain shortened start by Chris Tillman on Opening Day, their starters have combined for 5.1 innings/start. While they do have an excellent bullpen, it cannot sustain logging these types of innings over the long haul. The hot start is more to do with timely hitting, and playing two struggling teams in Minnesota and Tampa, two teams who are struggling to score runs.  Their seven game road trip, with three games in Boston and four at Texas, will be a good test.

Boston: The Red Sox, outside of the weather, had themselves a fairly predictable week. They have not had any issue scoring runs, as they have averaged 5.6 R/G in the first week. It was 7.0 R/G until they were blanked by Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays on Sunday. Outside of a few young bats, like Travis Shaw and Mookie Betts, going south this season, their offensive production should be on par with the best in the American League all season. Their starting pitching, outside of David Price, predicted to be their Achilles heal this season, have lived up to this early. The three starts not made by Price and Steven Wright have combined for thirteen innings and sixteen earned runs. If not for their offense this team could easily be 1-4, instead of 3-2 to start the season.

New York: The 2016 version of the Yankees, so far, looks exactly like the 2015 version. They have not had any issue scoring runs, averaging 7 R/G through their first five games. What is also similar is their starting pitching. Of the twenty-four runs (24) they have given up as a team, nineteen (19) of them have come from the twenty-six and two-thirds innings (26.2) thrown by the starting rotation. Their saving grace has been their bullpen which has only surrendered five runs, two earned, through seventeen and a third (17.1). In comparison their starting pitching is carrying a 6.52 ERA, while the bullpen holds a paltry 1.05 ERA.

Toronto: The Blue Jays may have had the most uneven week of all teams in the division. The starting pitching staff, for the most part, has been solid. Through seven games they have logged forty-three and a third (43.1) of the team’s total sixty-one (61) innings played, to a 4.17 ERA. Unfortunately, the bullpen has surrendered nine (9) runs through their sixteen and two-thirds (16.2) to the tune of a 5.00 ERA. This also includes three games where leads were surrendered, two of them coming in the eighth inning in Tampa. Perhaps the most surprising part of the week has been the offense. The lower runs per game (4.1) so far these season is far off the (5.61) they put up in 2015. While this will more than likely correct itself as the season marches forward, the concern has been the strikeout totals. The current lineup is striking out on average 10.1/game, while the 2015 lineup managed an impressive 7.1/game. The bright spot, despite eleven (11) strikeouts, has been 2015 MVP Josh Donaldson. Through week one the slugger is slashing .310/.355/.759 while tied for the league lead in home runs (4) and runs batted in (9).

Tampa: The Rays are suffering through an inability to score runs. Going into the season key additions to the lineup Corey Dickerson and Logan Morrison were brought in to help solve this problem, however, they have still managed a meager three (3.0) runs per game. If not for two late inning home runs against the Blue Jays this total would be closer to two. With the starting rotation averaging less than six innings (6IP) per start to the tune of a 5.70 ERA, this has been a pretty bad week for the Rays. If they hope to compete in this division, like most pundits predicted, their offense and starting pitching will have to improve a great deal.

 

Divisional Comparisons

Below are how the Toronto Blue Jays stack up compared to the rest of the American League East after week one.

Pitching (Sorted by ERA)

Pitching ALE

 

Batting (Sorted by Batting Average)

Batting ALE

 

 

 

*Feature Image Credit: Rob Lockhart under CC BY-SA 2.0

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