The Blue Jays are Doing Well, So Why All the Panic?

Standard

04 September 2014: Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Drew Hutchison (36) watches from the dugout during the MLB regular season game between the Toronto Blue Jays and Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg FL.

The Blue Jays are in the hunt to take the American League East. But they are coming off a tough series at home to the New York Yankees where they won only one of the three games over the weekend. After the series concluded, the Blue Jays sent down pitchers Drew Hutchison and Aaron Loup to the minors and called up a couple of position players, Matt Hague and Ezequiel Carrera, to replace them on the roster.

The moves should not as a total surprise. Gregg Zaun has pointed this out on a number of occasions. The Blue Jays will spend the next two weeks on the road where, despite his performance in his last two starts, Hutchison has struggled. Coupled that with the number of off-days during that stretch, his spot in the rotation will not be necessary. While many experts felt the Blue Jays can go with a 4-man rotation for the time being, I don’t think any of them expected to see Hutchison sent back to Buffalo. Same goes with Loup who hasn’t been used much since the acquisitions of LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe. But at least Hutchison will be able to work out the kinks and Loup will be simply be getting in work. Hague and Carrera will provide a luxury that the Blue Jays never had all season, depth on the bench. The Blue Jays have won 15 of their last 18 games. All this should be a sign that the team is doing well as they make a run for the playoffs. But many in the media don’t see it that way.

Why on earth has there been so much emphasis on the sending down the 5th starter in the rotation, which Hutchison has become? If people are starting to sweat over this, the problems Hutchison has on the road is the least of their worries. Perhaps you don’t have to look further than the last story I wrote on Danny Valencia. There are people in Toronto who will believe anything they read. Let me take that back, they will believe anything from publications like the New York Times, Huffington Post, and ESPN, just 3 organizations that are more about politics than sport. But we’ve seen posts on Facebook and Twitter from these sources and people still buy them hook, line, and sinker.

It is one of those mind games that players, coaches, and managers like to get into. Now we are seeing it in sports journalism. You put that false impression into people’s heads and all of a sudden they will start believing it. Believe this: the Blue Jays will be playing past October 4th.

Also see:

Firing Exposes Incompetence… Among Fans and Media
Outsiders Strike Again
Sports Media is Becoming Boring

Advertisements

Surprised by the Blue Jays’ Success? You Shouldn’t Be

Standard

Blue Jays

I get a kick out of all the experts claiming to be surprised by the play of the 2014 Toronto Blue Jays. If you’ve been following this blog, this doesn’t come as a surprise. This team is almost the same as the 2013 version. As of June 2, Toronto has a 3 1/2 game lead in the American League East. This time last year, the Blue Jays were in last place, 10 1/2 behind Boston. Same team, different result. Why is that?

I’ve said if the team stays healthy for the whole year, they can go far. Time spent on the disabled list this season has been kept to a minimum. There are a few players on the DL with long-term injuries: pitchers Brandon Morrow and Sergio Santos, outfielder Colby Rasmus, and infielder Maicer Izturis. But Morrow and Rasmus are the only key players that are missing from the roster. For the most part, the regulars have been able to stay healthy and contribute. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion are hitting home runs at a record pace, Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera are getting on base, Brett Lawrie and Adam Lind are getting big hits at the right time.

Pitching has been excellent too. Mark Buehrle is acting like the ace he was when he was with the White Sox, Drew Hutchison has been a pleasant surprise to the rotation, and the bullpen is doing its job with Casey Janssen leading the way as closer. The Blue Jays are also getting contributions from their role players like Anthony Gose, Josh Thole, and Juan Francisco. No longer is John Gibbons writing out a number of different line ups each and every night. But more importantly, there seems to be a bond developing with the players on the roster. Everyone seems to have fun playing together and they are helping pick each other up whenever chips are down.

As I mentioned, we are only in the month of June. The other teams in the division are struggling, especially the Boston Red Sox who, like the Blue Jays, are fielding the same team as the one that won the World Series. But it won’t be long until they finally get their house in order. They will have a say as to who gets to fly the AL East flag on September 28. I have no doubt that the Blue Jays will respond and come out on top.