Here we are, 40 games done, a full quarter (or close enough, anyway) of the way through the season. While there are a few things that deserve to be talked about if we’re going to look at how the team’s performed so far, one thing, er… person, stands above all.
Holy hell, Jose Bautista is a goddamn monster. For real! The season he’s been putting together is without a doubt THE story of the year so far. It was going to be even if he hadn’t gone out today and hit 3 home runs against the Minnesota Twins.
You’ll probably see and/or hear a lot of people saying that Joey Bats is on pace right now to hit 65 home runs this year. What you won’t (or I haven’t anyway) hear is that he’s also on pace to play only 130 games.
You’re reading that right: Bautista is averaging a home run every two games. That’s unreal. I laughed when, during Saturday’s broadcast, the Sportsnet crew showed a graphic comparing what Bautista’s done this season to the best 3 full seasons Babe Ruth put together during his career. Really, at this point, it is still laughable but today I do feel differently. After watching what he did today, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bautista top 60 home runs this year.
I probably should’ve mentioned this up top, but the Jays currently sit at 20-20, good for third place in the AL East at the time of this writing. The actual win-loss record doesn’t seem all that surprising to me, until injuries are taken into consideration, but more on that later.
Some days, John Farrell looks like a fool out there. He really, really does. But not everything he catches crap for is something he deserves to catch crap for. Letting Rajai Davis run? Good management. Letting Corey Patterson run? Questionable. Pulling pitchers when they’re one out from a complete game shutout? Not so bad. Using Octavio Dotel against left-handed batters on a regular basis? HORRIBLE — and getting worse.
But the thing Farrell seems to get the most heat for is his lineup construction. Yes, the lineups sometimes look like a dog’s lunch, but what do you expect him to do? The injuries this team have suffered have been so ridiculous that they recently played a game with only ONE guy on the bench.
As for the other management figure worth noting, I’m still a big supporter of Alex Anthopoulos. And his decision to lock up Joey Bats is really making him look like a genius. But I don’t care how much he might say about Travis Snider and his swing issues — I still don’t understand the speed with which the Lunchbox Hero was demoted.
The Jays are fast. Like second-in-the-AL-in-stolen-bases fast. Sure only two teams have been caught stealing more than Toronto and I understand it can be frustrating to watch the team “run into outs,” but I enjoy the running game. Speed kills!
So here’s the thing — the Jays are 20-20 despite having seen the following players
spend time on the DL miss time for various reasons: Octavio Dotel; Frank Francisco; Brandon Morrow; Corey Patterson; Rajai Davis (twice); Jose Bautista (twice); Yunel Escobar (twice); Aaron Hill; Edwin Encarnacion; and Jayson Nix. (ed: How did I forget to include Adam Lind? That’s a hashtag fail.)
That’s 10 guys. Add that to Jesse Carlson hanging out on the 60-day DL for the whole season so far and Travis Snider raking in the Pacific Coast League for some reason and you’ve got to pretty impressed with the Jays and their .500 record. Get everybody healthy and getting Snider going to the potential we all know he has and there’s no telling what this team can do
This team’s still pretty unlikely to make the playoffs. They’re better, so far, than most expected, but they still play in the AL East. They do though have Joey Bats and he’s got pretty broad shoulders…