Jays' Winning Start: A Surprise To All
As a resident of Toronto, Canada, it has become the norm to see our teams, such as the Maple Leafs, the Raptors, the Argonauts, and the FC having what can only be called mediocre performance at best.
Yet, people have been shocked with the performance from the Toronto Blue Jays.
The point of having a conversation regarding the Jays was to help change the subject from an awkward silence. However, the Jays impressive start to the season, has many people talking instead about the performance of our city's top team.
Going into their first series against the New York Yankees, the Jays have accumulated a 22-12 record. This is because they have won every series they have participated in, pardon the four game series verses the Kansas City Royals.
Much of the team's success can be attributed to the Jays head coach, Cito Gaston.
Gaston came in with the experience of leading the Blue Jays to two World Series Championships in the early 90s.
After the firing of John Gibbons, Gaston's first decision as manager was to recall Adam Lind to the team. This season, we see Lind in the starting line-up, usually taking the DH role for the team.
Lind has easily been the most impressive Toronto player. For the last several seasons, he used to be a replacement player, being called up now and then to replace outfielders when they were injured.
His 2009 stats include, a .333 batting average, with 44 hits, 31 RBIs along with six home runs.
Lind is not the only player that is having a great start to the season.
Aaron Hill has consistently been the Jays go-to-guy when they need the big hit. He currently leads the team with a .353 batting average along with an on-base-percentage of .394.
Hill has also gone deep the most with eight home run and has carried the team with 29 RBIs. He has also kept all pitchers honest, with 54 hits in the 34 game he's played this season.
This is a great sight to see from Hill, because in 2008 he had a promising start along with Alex Rios and was given a new $12 million, four year deal.
It has not been all that easy for the whole starting lineup, especially for Rios and rookie Travis Snider. If you were looking at the stats for the average team, you would not think that 3 HR a piece and at least 22 hits each is not all the bad.
However, as Toronto advances into a stronger hitting team, their bats will be necessary in order to help the team.
Snider has been receiving help from Gaston and his other teammates as he adjusts to the the big leagues. He is lucky to have Gaston as his coach, because Gaston has the patience to allow his players to work through their struggles.
During the 2008 season, the Jays were known for having one of the best starting rotations in the Major League.
But, during the off-season the Jays lost key players Shawn Marccum and Dustin McGowan to injuries that have put them out of the season.
Also, 20 plus win pitcher A. J. Burnett could not be persuaded to stay with the Jays as he left signing a huge $82.5 million contract over five years.
This left the Jays with Jesse Litch and their star pitcher Roy Halladay.
Halladay has been a great help for the team at the start of the season, including seven wins, while recording just the one loss.
With a limitless pitch count, he has helped the Jays stay out of trouble in every game he pitched.
In the rotation to start the season with him included: Litch, David Purcey, Ricky Romero and Scott Richmond.
Purcey was quickly sent back down to the minors, and after just two and three starts respectfully, Litch and Romero succumbed to injuries.
Richmond was impressive during the month of April, with four wins, giving up just 14 earned runs with an ERA of 3.28.
Otherwise, the only weakness currently in the Jays armour is filling the rest of the rotation with decent starting pitchers.
An honourable mention should go out to the improved performance of Shawn Camp who has had great contributions to the team in extra-inning games. His record is 4-0 with one save during 13 games, along with just one earned run.
However, where these pitchers have struggled in various games, the Jays have come up big with hits and several come-back clutch wins.
If this performance can continue into the summer, the Jays will easily be the team the beat in the American League East Division.
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