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Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Some Thoughts on the Blue Jays’ First Six Games of 2017

Ahhh, the Home Opener. Time for the season to start for real. Which, of course, is precisely the thing someone would say if their team shit the bed in the first six games of the season and found themselves limping home.

And, yeah. The results so far have been ugly and bad and frustrating as fuck. But have the Blue Jays played as poorly as their results? Are dark clouds encircling this franchise as it becomes apparent that they’re simply Not. Good. Enough.?

Nah.

Not that anybody is saying so. I’m kiiiinda pissing on a straw man here. Yet I can feel in my bones what’s coming. It’s the same thing that comes this time every year as the Blue Jays struggle to get their bearings and the calm and reasonable people attempt to think about the team in the big picture: the ass-curdling moron howl of dipshits cannot stand to be reminded that it’s early and the season is long and their gloomy blame-desperate horseshit isn’t worth hearing, no matter how loudly they yell it or how many times they press Caps Lock.

It would be nice if the Jays would start a season with a bunch of wins so we didn’t have to do this every year. I’m not talking about an ’84 Tigers thing, just a few goddamned wins to avoid this horseshit. And yet here we are.

Yes, yes, I’m the one bringing all that up, and I could completely just avoid it by not writing in opposition to these ghosts so damn much. The vast majority of us know that the season is long and this drama is needles, and I should probably just go about my business without resorting to clown-baiting preambles like this one all allow myself to come off like the happy homer that’s always lying under the surface of my posturing. But where’s the fun in that? Especially when there’s quite a bit of positive that we can see in this team so far, if we’re just willing to look past, y’know, the actual outcomes.

To wit:

The Jays were on the wrong end of two very good pitching performances in Baltimore, especially the one from Dylan Bundy. They’re not going to face pitching like that every night, and as much as we might be inclined to mewl that the Jays’ hitters have a tendency of too often making mediocre pitchers look like aces (which, OK, they maybe do), given Bundy’s pedigree I think we can tip our caps and move on. Gausman ain’t bad either, but you’d have hoped they’d have done better there — especially the three-through-six hitters, Bautista, Morales, Tulowitzki, and Martin, who all came up empty save for the odd walk. Nothing horrific there.

The Jays won that first game of the Tampa series, and though Kendrys’ big knock maybe masked a lack of ability to put up runs in any other damn inning (save for whichever other one they did put a run up in), it’s pretty hard to complain.

We then had the Liriano blow-up game, which obviously isn’t going to be a regular occurrence. Of course, this was the first time they actually managed to hit well as a team, clawing back really nicely to take the lead, and then the bullpen blows it. That was awful, but they were asking so much of the ‘pen in that game that it’s hard to make that an indictment of the unit as a whole. Apart from Howell (now on the DL with left-arm shittiness) and maybe Loup (who gives up cheap hits and deflected balls so often — to go along with all the other Aaron Loup bullshit — that it’s becoming really hard to even feign defending him), they were mostly OK-ish. They’ll figure it out. They’ll be fine back there. Liriano will literally never have a worse outing. And, again, they managed to hit in this one. I can handle that loss.

Saturday was a tough extra inning loss in a game pitched by Chris Archer, so there’s not a whole lot to see here. We can’t tip our caps to every halfway decent top pitcher — they’re going to have to get to some of them sometimes if they have any hope of being good — but Sanchez pitched well and they were close enough to winning that it went to extras. I can live with games like that, on the assumption that some will eventually go the Jays’ way, too.

And, OK, Sunday was fucking awful.

But, I dunno. That’s not too bad. And while the standard for this team has to be a hell of a lot higher than “not too bad,” there are going to be a whole bunch of those stretches over the course of the season — these Jays aren’t going to go out curb-stomping teams like it’s the back half of 2015, unfortunately — and this one maybe gets magnified and feels worse because it’s happened right at the very start and a lot of times a team will come out of them with more than just a single bloody win in six.

The positives go deeper still, though. The Jays so far have scored more runs per game than the Houston Astros, and you’re not expecting that offence to continue to be dormant, are you? The Jays and Astros are no more likely to continue being this bad than the Diamondbacks are to continue averaging over six runs per game. Y’know?

This doesn’t mean that the Jays will necessarily rise to the level of good, or even good enough, but they’ll surely rise.

And I like the at-bats they’ve been taking, to tell you the honest truth. Kevin Pillar remains problematic, but I’m willing to still believe there could be something to his new approach. The lack of strikeouts from him, the absence of Upton and Saunders, and the diminished playing time for Smoak at least makes it feel like the bottom of the order is capable of something, unlike the end of last year — when you could have put Russell Martin’s name among that godawful bunch as well. And though Pitches Per Plate Appearance is not a good stat, nor a good proxy for offensive prowess, the Jays are doing well in that regard so far (5th in baseball), which hopefully will translate to… something?

I don’t know. I guess I’m grasping. But that’s just fucking it! It’s hard to find meaningful positive at this stage, just like it’s hard to find meaningful negative, because it’s hard to find anything fucking meaningful at this stage. To which I’d add “so simmer down you fucking pissbabies!”, but I reckon you all probably really do get it, save for the one or two commenters who’ll show up just to be miserable and try to drag everybody else down closer to their own pitiful existence. Somebody give those turds a hug.

Meh.

Anyway, thank fuck that’s all over. It can only go up from here*. And now big league baseball is back! In Toronto! Tonight! How awesome is that??!?

 

*Unless it somehow gets worse and they limp into July and trade everybody, but holy shit, shut up about that just yet.
    • ThePowderedWhig

      Not only are the recent April’s less-than-stellar but the salt in the wound is that it always involves intra-division games. A 1-5 start on the west coast vs Anaheim and Seattle? Whoopty-doo. But 1-5 vs AL East foes in a tight division is that little extra twist of the nipple that leaves the bruise. Look at last year: tie with Baltimore but we host the WC game because of that one little extra win head-to-head.

  • Regulator Johnson

    I don’t really see how you saw those games and didn’t think they were bad? I mean, there’s no doubt this is a good team full of talented players, but right now only Josh has a stat line that is better than terrible (though it is MUCH better than terrible).

    The fact of the matter is we spent 6 games getting more or less the worst possible performances out of all our players except for 3 or 4 of them. I’m pretty sure they’ll start kicking ass soon, but they’ve basically been the definition of “too bad” so far.

  • sketch15

    Might also be worth nothing the last time the Jays came out of the gate hot was the 2009 season. 15-9 in April and a high-water mark of 27-14 on May 18 (with a 3.5 game lead in the division, the very same as the Jays’ current deficit). They promptly lost 9 straight, were below .500 and 11 games back before the All-Star break, and finished the year at 75-87. Point being, April is a bullshit month whether you’re hot, cold, or lukewarm.

    To build on yer basketball analogy, if this was a hockey game, the Jays would be on the PK about 5 minutes into the first in a scoreless game. Just gotta get their shit together and everything could be coming up Milhouse before the long weekend’s even over.