9

Does A Hot Start Matter When It’s Against Weak Teams?

It absolutely fucking does.

There are two types of people that are reading this because of my clickbait title: the first group are the ones that rolled their eyes and thought “well, duh” and came here to read this and then roast me, and second group are people that aren’t impressed by the Jays start and are excited at the idea of me shitting on the team that they love because they secretly hate them.

This is for the latter.

The Blue Jays are currently 12-5 after all the complaining that was done this winter! Instead of going for a huge splash, the Blue Jays aim was to just stay competitive while not completely ruining the Bo and Vlad show in a few years. Your friends at Blue Jays Nation have all echoed the same sentiment that it was by and large a pretty good offseason throughout, even though they didn’t make the big splash we wanted to see.

But even still, the voices on the internet, where everybody speaks in absolutes for some reason, all claimed something along the lines of the Jays never making the playoffs again in their existence, which might be a stretch. Then again, I write for Blue Jays Nation, so that might be biased.

Through the first few weeks of the 2018 season, the Blue Jays have not lost a series. They split against New York, took two of three from the White Sox, Rangers, and Orioles, won a game against Cleveland (before having the other two postponed), and swept the Royals. They’ve also been bludgeoning teams. Their run differential after their first 17 is +38, behind only the 15-2 Red Sox, who sit first in the majors.

Why should I care? They beat up on some pretty awful teams.”

Baseball has a long and at-times gruelling season. We’ve heard the whole “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” argument many times last year when the Blue Jays fell flat on their face in April. It’s also a league where you almost have to beat up on the bad teams in order to be successful.

Even though they were awful, they still were three games back in the wildcard race as late as August. Problem was, there were six teams between the Blue Jays and the second wildcard Angels. At the very least, this hot start (and continued success against bad teams) will help down the road when we’re nervously scoreboard watching. Doing what you should against these teams inflates your win totals and keeps you in a realistic position to contend for a playoff spot.

Food for thought: last season, the two World Series participants, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers, were a combined 54-48 (.529) against teams over .500, aka good teams. The titans of the regular season, who won 205 games between them, were a combined six games over .500 when it came to besting these “good” teams!

Where they created their distance in the standings was against the weaker teams. I’m talking about the Orioles, White Sox, and Royals of the league. Combined, the Astros and Dodgers beat up on them to the tune of a 151-71 (.680) record. Yes, the Blue Jays are 12-5 primarily due to facing weak opposition, but if they can be somewhat respectable against the good teams, the ceiling for this team is sky high. They do have what look to be two powerhouses playing in their division, but if they can just play them close and keep doing what they’ve been doing to the shitty teams, they’ll be in the race in September. No, not the wildcard race, the division race.

We now get to watch them play the Yankees and then Red Sox for seven days in a row. A strong showing here might cause the hype train to fly off the rails, and I’m here for it.

I don’t know, the Blue Jays have been extremely fun these few weeks and have almost effortlessly been putting up crooked numbers. You can either sulk and complain on the internet about not knowing who a single reliever in the Royals bullpen is, or you can hopefully enjoy the start of a ride that leads to Yangervis Solarte dancing throughout October.

  • hirsh39

    The dumbest part of this stupid argument is that the Red Sox have done the same damn thing! They’ve played 7 games against Tampa! They only have two wins against a team over .500, and admittedly those have been nice wins against the Angels.

    Also, ironically, if the Jays lose tonight, they’d have two more wins against teams with winning records because the Yankees would be 9-8. A win is a win

  • Regulator Johnson

    Regardless of how you get there and no matter what it means, 12-5 feels a lot better than 2-11 did.

    Though I might pump the breaks on raising the AL East banner dudes. We’re still closer to 2nd WC than winning the division.

  • Missileman

    Be gentle folks, first post. Not sure why I am posting now after all this time but maybe the half dozen beers and a bottle of wine is playing a factor – maybe … ? Followed this site since DJF days and have really enjoyed the content over the years. Expos fan from way back until getting screwed by MLB and now an ardent supporter/ defender of Jays amongst a family of Yankee morons. You know what they say, you can’t choose your family. Anyway wrt the topic, of course wins against shit teams matter, wins is wins. Enjoying the season so far but to be honest still a doubter as 3 weeks don’t a season make. Absolutely need to get Donaldson’s bat back into the line up as he really is the only true scary guy in the order when right. Still too many swings and misses in this lineup (Grichuk, Teoscar, Smoak, Pillar, Martin) to sustain any kind of real rallies against better than half decent pitching. Please prove me wrong but 4-3 in next 7 really good, 3-4 OK, 2-5 expected, 1-6 bad, 0-7 blow it up (just kidding). Enjoy the season folks, I hope to.

    • Paul Beestons Grass Surface

      But 3 weeks pretty much ended the Jays season last year..in hindsight. So yes you are right but 12-5 now might be the differrence maker towards the end of the season. Playing 500 the rest of the season still keeps us in the conversation regarding the playoffs. So yeah you are right wins are wins…but perhaps 3 weeks can make or break a season.

    • GrumblePup

      You can’t really “be a doubter because it’s only been three weeks” and then simultaneously say that 5 players aren’t good enough.

      I agree, they haven’t been great, but it’s only been 3 weeks. If 3 weeks isn’t enough to convince you they’re hood, it aren’t so cant be enough to convince you theyre bad.

  • dolsh

    It’s definitely much more fun to start the year 12-5 than 1-30 (or whatever it was last April).

    That said, it’s *really* early. Let’s not make plans for the post season yet.