Okay. We’re 14 games into the season. Now, most Bandwagoners, and I use that term in the most loving possible way, are upset that we aren’t 14-0. And most legit Jays fans are scratching their heads wondering why we’re having yet another typical .500 season (7-7 at the time of publication). We’re totally run-of-the-mill this year. Three home wins, three home losses. Four away wins, four away losses. At least we’re consistent… right?
Before the season began, our biggest worry was our pitching. Everyone knew we had a potent offense and a solid defense- we just didn’t have the pitching to back up our line-up. Shapiro, love him or hate him, made some great trades and acquisitions this off-season that put us in decent shape as far as our starting rotation and bullpen are concerned. With the additions of J.A. Happ (who some might recognize from a few years ago when he was a .500, 4.22 ERA pitcher with the Jays), Drew Storen, Jesse Chavez and Pat Venditte (the only switch-pitching pitcher in baseball) to name a few, Shapiro had added depth to a team more one-dimensional than a Kardashian. Even though we lost a few arms (Price and Papa Buerhle being the most notably missed from the rotation), we were in pretty good shape to start the season – much to the chagrin of every 2015 “Let’s throw Ted Rogers in the lake” fan.
Even in Spring Training, we had guys fighting over positions and battling it out to the very end- with Aaron Sanchez making leaps and bounds between the player he is now and the bullpen arm he was last year. Osuna remained our closer, we patched up some of the more glaring holes, knowing that our offense was going to make the big difference. Who cares if we give away 8 runs if we score 9? That’s the Blue Jays logic.
Only, what happens if that offense doesn’t come through? What if they have cold bats? Well, that’s how you get to be a .500 team fourteen games into the season. Like the Jays.
Chris Colabello, our out-of-nowhere Independent League player is batting a .080 compared to last year’s .321. Now, I know it’s 14 games in. And I know we expected some level of regression, but seriously?! Russell Martin dropped from a .240 to .108, and Troy Tulo-freakin’-witzki is batting a slash of .128/.222/.255. This isn’t even a concept any Jays fan was worried about last year. Our concern was meant to be pitching, not hitting! We’ve got the line-up of death with Donaldson, Bautista, Encarnacion, Tulo and Martin batting in a row. Even in today’s game against the Red Sox, we only won due to hit batters and a sloppy Bo-Sox defence- not because we played better offensively- they were just worse defensively.
Where does that leave us now? Are we going to watch the Blue Jays sink back into the hole they came from and have everyone forget about 2015? Or are we a giant bandwagon totin’ freight train that just takes a while to gain speed? We’ve still got another 148 games to prove that last year wasn’t just a fluke. That means over 1300 innings of showing off our defense, our pitching (my god, I never thought I’d say that out loud anytime soon) and, hopefully soon, our freakin’ crazy offense! It’s more than enough time to gain momentum and kick it into high gear- after all, we did it in half a season last year. These guys need to remember that they are still of the same caliber as the guys who ended our play-off drought and brought life back to Canadian baseball. And fans? I think we need to remember that, too.