Weird Science: A Toronto Blue Jays Number Crunch
As we approach the halfway point of the campaign for the Jays, it's time to take a look at the numbers.
It's been a weird, weird, season. Expectations were pretty low for Toronto coming into this year. Yet they've turned potential disaster into first place, back to potential disaster, and finally into real competitors.
The numbers say it all for Toronto, and the following ones will define the remainder of the season for the Blue Jays.
Roy Halladay's number. While some people may have forgot about Dr. Dre, no one is forgetting the other Doctor. Roy Halladay is always a good reason to like the Jays.
Halladay is enjoying a brief stay on the DL, but knowing he is due to return soon, with his tenacious work ethic and competitiveness, is forcing the AL East to turn their nightlights back on.
A 10-1 record with a 2.53 ERA is nothing to scoff at. When the Doc is in the Jays usually win; and that's a rhyme to remember. His return means a rotation that has survived all the odds will narrow them considerably.
Also known as the Jays Home/Away win splits. The protective dome of Rogers Center Toronto has become the Birdhouse. Winning like that at home has kept the Jays in the hunt this season.
Playing on the road has been a different story. Opposing teams have been able to exploit the Jays like Hollywood does child actors when they play away from Toronto.
It's been a Brad Pitt/Dustin Diamond kind of split, and it's been the reason the Jays have yet to quiet all the critics. Fortunately, plenty of season remains to change that.
Or as Cito Gaston might call it, "The Bane of My Existence"; and it's the Jays winning percentage in Interleague play.
Cito has made it known that he doesn't like to see a team built for the American League subjected to the rigors of the NL. The Jays' record against the fairer league has made it difficult to increase their standing in the AL.
A game in June is just as significant as one in September and some of these missed opportunities may come back to haunt Toronto. Just like how the ghost of B.J. Ryan haunts the bullpen (too soon?).
The numbers of errors the Jays have committed in the field, good for second in Major League Baseball. A .990 fielding percentage has given the Jays a great defence that protects its pitchers from unnecessary worries.
Defence has become a much bigger thing in baseball and the Jays have embraced that concept like the Sopranos at a family reunion. Keeping the mistakes down has given the Jays chances to win that a sloppier team may have squandered.
How many pitchers have started games for the Blue Jays. Eleven different players have come and gone through the rotation for Toronto, and the Jays continue to survive.
Somehow the Jays combined ERA is still 4.23, and total freefall has been avoided. I'm pretty sure that at one point fans were being put on stand-by for starts. A tip of the cap must be awarded to the No-Name Rotation that has really made a name for itself.
The number of fantastic moustaches in the Blue Jays dugout. Brian Tallet has been cultivating some serious lip hair that begs recognition. If you see one moustache this summer, make it this one.
He's also been doing everything the Jays have asked of him which included turning in six shutout innings against Cincinnati last night. Tallet has started 14 games for the Jays rotation (tied with Halladay for most among Toronto pitchers) and has been providing the glue where necessary.
Vernon Wells' batting average. The 126-million dollar man has been having a tough season so far, and more success from him means the same from Toronto.
Wells hit his first homerun since May 3 on Saturday and my magic eight-ball is telling me all signs point to "YES!!!!"
This is a good thing. When Wells is hot, it makes an already potent Jays lineup deadly. Alex Rios has started his ascent back from the brink and Wells looks like he will follow suit. If he doesn't though, expect to hear a lot of chirps from Blue Jays fans.
The Jays current position in the AL East. Having returned to the middle-man spot between the Boardwalk of New York and Boston, and the Baltic Avenue of Baltimore and Tampa Bay has been an unwelcome familiarity.
Being content with third is something the Jays hope to dispel soon. Being competitive must be a priority this season, especially when competitors like Roy Halladay are reaching contract expiry limits.
To entice interest from fans and free agents the Jays need to shake the dreaded stigma of third. Toronto has had enough bronze to satisfy Ancient Greece and needs to taste some success.
The Blue Jays' first-half winning percentage. I wrote earlier that the last time the Jays were winning this much, this early, was back in the glory days of 1992-93.
Starting this strong gives the Jays a good springboard into the rest of the season. As a team that likes to make things interesting come September, they're in a good position to make the AL East into an academic debate. Or, for the scholastically un-inclined, a mud wrestling match down at the Playboy mansion.
The season hasn't celebrated its half-birthday yet, and the Jays are hanging around like a cat on a clothesline.
These things are what the Jays will be counting on for continued success. Putting aside the number puns, Toronto has a very good chance to usurp a playoff spot from some of the perennial contenders this year.
For those of you scoring at home, that means don't count out these Blue Jays. That was the last one, I swear.
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