Oh Canada! The Jays come out of the gate flying.
With a country that is now focusing on a playoff run that includes three of the six Canadian squads trying to end Canada’s 16 years playoff drought, the Blue Jays are soaring, taking their first two series of the 2009 season.
Unfortunately nobody seems to be noticing. The Jays fans were their normal loud and loyal selves on opening night. Unfortunately a few bad apples decided that with the bases loaded and a seven run lead in the eighth on opening night to participate on a level of stupidity that caused the MLB to threaten forfeit. That was the Ugly. Even more predictable was the dramatic drop off in attendance over the next couple of days.
The kids started off scorching hot and were looking to prove that the 12 spot they dropped on the Tigers on opening night was more indicative of the potential offense that they have. With 46 runs score in the first week and twice knocking out double digits, Cito and Gene Tenace seem to have the boys in blue swinging hot sticks right out of the gate.
Adam Lind: Has been on a tare to open his second full big league campaign. He’s managed 12 hits, five for extra bases in just seven games. He’s also shown a knack for the five spot driving in team high 12 runs.
Aaron Hill: Returning from post-concussion syndrome that kept him out of a large chunk of 2008, Hill looks to be back on track to be the player he was becoming, by batting .300 with three doubles and two long balls. Not to mention he has already knocked in eight RBI from the two spot. Not a prototype two-spot hitter, Hill generates a lot of excitement with his ability to generate runs.
Vernon Wells: Looking to the guy they gave all that money to, Wells has started the year batting .321 and has also knocked around three doubles and a home run in his first seven games.
Alex Rios: Although Rios seems to have learned the value of a walk with five in his first seven games, he hasn’t exactly been on fire in the three spot. The Jays have scored a league high 42 runs and Rios has driven in six. Combine that with Vernon Wells and you have nine RBI out of the three and four spot. Luckily Hill and Lind has book ended them with 20 out of the two and five spot.
The Pitching: Everyone is enamored with the offense, but people shouldn’t turn a blind eye to the false promise that is this Blue Jays pitching staff. The Jays rank 17thin the majors in ERA. In the American League alone, the Jays rate in the top three in average, runs, slg, OBP and OPS. On the reverse of the 14 teams in the AL they are ninth in WHIP, ERA and tenth in OPS.
I’ve discussed my disappointment in the opening day crowd already with their behavior. Lets talk about the fact that on the night the Blue Jays were attempting to take their third straight from the Tigers to start the season and drew 12,145 or 24 percent of capacity. Cito Gaston showed measurable improvement in this teams offense last season and opening day did nothing to dispel that. But 24 percent capacity by the third game of the season is nothing short of embarrassing.
After one week the Jays are mashing and their pitching is right on track with what we might have thought. The glut of runs has allowed them to get into the pen with a lead. Camp, Carlson, Downs, and Fraser have held down the late innings. The Jays have gotten one quality start out of rookie Rickey Romero and Roy Halladay is 2-0, but Litsch, Purcey, and Richmond have been the weak link accounting for the team’s two losses. In four starts and 21 innings the trio has surrendered 14 earned runs.
So what do we know?:
Are the Jays for real? Well as long as their two, four and five hitters keep up this pace they should be fine, even with this below average pitching. Unfortunately for them I just don’t seem Adam Lind being the first guy in 68 years to crack .400, and knocking out approximately 70 bombs.
Are the Jays better than most thought, it sure looks that way, but their team ERA and WHIP are cause to be concerned that what we have seen so far can not be maintained.