…And here we are folks in the middle of May and the earth is spinning us ‘round and ‘round as we all hoot and holler our way through these rock n’ roll baseball times. Time has pushed us away from the cold, bleak January and February days. We are no longer waking up in the dark, leaving work in the dark, and wearing toques and parkas. The days are longer, the sun is shining, and patio drinks are happening. The iced coffee season is here – if that’s your thing. And baseball is in full swing.
We can all play our favourite records (or iPhone wireless speakers) with our windows open now and sit on our balconies – or in our backyards while sipping some kind of damn something. I have to say that there is nothing better than listening to some music and looking out at Toronto from the 12th floor of my downtown condo. There’s nothing better than these moments that all of us Canadians have to wait all winter long for – not a damn thing. Spring is here.
And what’s really crazy to think about is that the MLB season has officially passed the 40-game mark – we got baseball on our breath now. And how the hell did that happen so quickly? Seriously, someone pinch me. I dunno, time just seems to pass. And as it does, the Jays keep on slippin’ into the future.
So, who’s the greatest American League team of them all?’ The ‘Stros? Maybe. The dumb Yankees? The shitty Sox? The Cleveland franchise? Probably not. They sure aren’t playing like it – that’s for damn sure. But, Jays fans dream of the wild card. And I dream with them.
According to FanGraphs, the Jays currently – as I type this – have an 18.5% chance of making the playoffs – of punching that wild card ticket. And the Halos have a 52.2% chance – fun times. The Mariners 14% - whatever. But, there is still a chance, and it’s still early.
Now, we all knew heading into this season that the Halos were going to be that team. That team Jays fans need to keep an eye on. That team Jays fans are all going to hope go sideways. But, it hasn’t happened yet...And I really wish that it would.
So far the Jays are a .500 team and .500 baseball isn’t going to punch them into anything. It’s just not going to be good enough. But, the good news is that they are totally in it for now. And they are one winning streak away from raising their playoff odds.
If certain players can perform and if the starting pitching can be what we all know they are, then the Jays are going to be better in the next 40, but the ifs are just as present today as they were at the beginning of the season. There are a whole lot of ifs that still have to happen, if this wild card dream is going to come true.
There have been some things to like so far and also some things that have had all of us shake our effing heads. Things that have – and let me use a real elegant 10-dollar ostentatious word: sucked. But, it’s not that bad at all. It’s been kind of fun, at times. And sometimes not fun at all, oh…baseball. So, let’s take a look at the 40-game gah, blah, and rah…
(Ed. This is an unedited ‘first 40 games’ stream-of-thought rant, so I can get some things off my baseball mind. I will try my best not to cuss – no promises.)
So far this season, it’s been all call up Vladdy because Kendrys Morales has been absolute dogshit. And Vladdy has been one bad hitting dude in New Hampshire, as he has smashed, killed, and fired baseballs to the sun – a place where many Jays fans want the Toronto front office to send Morales. I just don’t know what to say about this whole Morales thing. There is no reason that a guy, whose job is to hit baseballs, should be hitting at the bottom of the lineup, but he has been that bad. It’s also really shitty that over 50% of his hits are ground balls because he’s very slow and when he makes contact the ball should soar to the outfield, but his GB% is 53.8 and his FB% is 35.4…Fun fucking times. I really don’t need to type up his stats because we all know how bad his production line is. And never mind the fact that he is worth -.8 WAR…GAH! Maybe the Jays should DFA him to the baseball moon. But, if Vladdy is not going to be called up to DH as Ross Atkins stated, maybe the Jays should just plug the hole with different bats on different nights, I dunno. Kendrys Morales has been one big effing GAH!
Once Josh Donaldson gets going the Jays will be a much better offensive team. And he will get going because he’s Josh Donaldson and he’s one the best players in the game. Smoak should turn it up too because he isn’t a *we hope* ‘one year wonder’, he isn't a blah. And if both of their bats get going, more Jays cleats will touch home plate and that is a fact. Russell Martin needs to get into a groove, too. He’s hitting .172 and his blah wRC+ 83 sure isn’t anything to gush over, but we are living during a time where Luke Maile has a wRC+ 145, so there’s that. Huh? Exactly. These key players will get going and it’s still early and once they do and once Steve Pearce comes back and if Devon Travis can figure it out down in Buffalo, this team should hang with the Halos. The blah production from the big players is going to turn around. Just wait for Josh Donaldson to do Josh Donaldson things. There is nothing blah about one of the greatest players in the game. And if the starting pitching can start pitching how we all expected and help Pete Walker and ol’ Gibbers sleep at night, then maybe this team can hang with the Halos. Maybe…these players are better than blah.
Thank fuck for the bullpen because holy shit this team could have a record as bad as Baltimore if they weren’t pitching the way they have been, but how long can Gibby keep running them out there like this before they start to, ya know, get tired and throw meatballs – or get injured? But, if the starting rotation can come around, which I think they will, then that will give this bullpen some much needed rest. If this Jays team is going to win games in the next 40, the starting rotation is going to have to be better.
Who could’ve ever imagined that Kevin Pillar would be leading the Jays offensively a quarter of the way through the season. He’s currently leading the team in WAR (1.5), Maile is second WAR (1). Somehow the Jays have found ways to win games in April – not so much lately - and because of this they are above .500. Yangervis Solarte has been beyond 'the RAH' valuable for the Jays and is leading the team with 9 dingers. Yangervis Solarte is leading the team in dingers – leading the team. If it weren’t for these three unsung heroes (and a little Teoscar, Grandy and Pearce magic too), the Blue Jays run differential wouldn’t be +5 – that’s for sure. And the team wouldn’t be above .500 either. So because of players producing beyond their offensive expectations and the Jays having the best American League ‘pen, the team still has a chance.
After the first 40-games, the Jays season hasn’t been bad, it hasn’t been great either. New York, Boston, Houston and Cleveland (in the shitty AL Central) will all be playing baseball in the fall. And that only leaves one ticket to be punched, and the Halos are the team that currently hold it. Certain players and starting pitchers on the Jays are going to have to turn it on if this team is going to hang around during the next 40 games.
The thing is that the Jays probably shouldn’t even be hanging around with the Halos after the first 40 games when you think about how they have been winning baseball games in April and May. Yet the team is still in it. And the team has won more games than they have lost. The offseason acquisitions that the front office made this year are the reason that they don’t have a record like Buck Showalter’s Trash Birds of Baltimore. But, yet there are still knuckleheads out there who shit all over Shapiro and Atkins.
After the great start to the season, I expected the Jays to have a better record than they do right now. But, if in the winter someone had told me that after the first 40 that the Jays would be 1-game above .500, I would have been pretty damn cool with that. The next 40 games are going to decide the outcome of this season and what Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins are going to do come trade deadline. A quarter of the 2018 season is already over. Somebody pinch me, shit that happened fast.