As the Jays have just had a bad road trip, it got me thinking. The Jays are starting to live up to their expectations of .500 baseball. Actually, at the start of the year many assumed the Jays would not even play .450 ball.
At the beginning of this season, many baseball “experts” predicted the Jays to be the last place team in the AL East. Now around 70 games into the season some of those so-called experts are changing their predictions for the AL East standings. Toronto will certainly not finish below the Orioles, unless a disaster happens in T.O.
The problem is that if we are not in last, we are probably in 4th . We all know the beasts of the east and why they will finish in the top 3. These are the reasons that the Jays will probably not be in contention to win the AL East or the Wild Card come October:
The Jays offence is obviously very one-dimensional: they smash home runs; not much else. When the Jays don’t hit bombs they are unlikely to put together a string of hits and runs to win ball games.
The Jays are currently in a bit of a home run slump. The problem with the slump is they have nothing to fall back on. Yes they have pretty decent pitching but I am talking about the offense side of things. The Blue Birds won’t be able to find a way to win games if Bautista or Wells aren’t hitting 450 ft. bombs to left field.
Cito’s style of baseball doesn’t incorporate much speed. They can’t manufacture runs like the Tampa Bay Rays do consistently against the Jays. They rarely bunt the runner along and then get a single to score him. The Jays and especially Cito Gaston should watch the Rays to learn how to score runs if you’re not hitting home runs. They use their speed and the use of an unpredictable bunt to score runs (which the Jays could utilize as no team expects them to bunt because they do it once every 20 games).
The Jays are in the bottom 3 in the MLB in terms of AVG. A .235 is not going to get you into the playoffs. Not even if you hit 250 home runs. Not in the AL East you wouldn’t. The Jays need a bit more balance in their lineup if they want to be a playoff team anytime soon. I would like to see them hit for a better average and OBP come July.
Cito Gaston has been complained about on a number of occasions by us fans. He has been critiqued most notably for leaving his pitchers in the game for too long.
Cito is not much of an in-game strategist and takes an old school approach to the game. His most notable mistake recently in my memory is when he gave the decision to Frasor for walking Cano or pitching to Posada late in the game. Frasor chose Cano for some reason and his hit eventually ended up being the game winner. Cito has to make decisions at times like that and with Posada just off the DL and Cano the best hitter in the AL at the time… you get my point.
Many of us fans expect Cito to be out of our managing job at the end of the year. I feel his eventual firing is inevitable.
With Doc leaving as you all know, many thought the Jays would be one of the worst pitching teams in the league. That is not the case as they are quite decent this year. Their pitching is ranked 17th in the MLB and sports around a 4.30 ERA. The starting pitching has been notably better than the bullpen.
If not for Gregg and co. we could have been near the top of the AL East standings. The pitching has had its ups and downs this year. Even with Marcum, Gregg, Cecil, Romero, and Morrow having slumps at some time during the season.
The bullpen has not been great but not bad either. They are pitching a little bit below my standards right now. Camp has been the only consistent reliever throughout the season. Playoff teams usually have at least 3 guys in the pen they know they can get a shutout inning out of consistently.
The last thing about the pitching is their inexperience. With Litsch now on it it gives us a bit more but not much experience. Marcum is the oldest and he is only 28. With Cecil, Romero, Marcum, Litsch and Morrow, the Jays staff is very young. Although this could be a good thing for the future it is not for the present if they want to be a playoff team.
Many think the Jays will amass 80+ wins on the season and I think that is reasonable. With the Jays being so young their future looks great. They might even win a World Series in 2013 if they play their cards right (see Jeff Wahl's article about the 2013 World Series Blue Jays).
I will write an article about the reasons the Jays could make the playoffs. It’s always good to look at the positive side as well.
Thanks for reading my article! Comments would be greatly appreciated as this is only my 2nd article on Bleacher Report.