As of Monday April 18th, the Toronto Blue Jays are 7-7 to start the season and honestly, it’s not what some fans expected. But let’s face it, the Jays slow start is exactly what fans should have expected. The bats haven’t been as hot as we would like them to be, and the bullpen has had moments in which fans wish it could have been a little bit better.
Yes, Troy Tulowitzki has a low average, as does Russell Martin. Defensively, however, they are the same people; they are good at their jobs on the field and people shouldn’t worry too much. Tulo is still one of the best shortstops in the entire league and most fans are acknowledging that as long as he can field the ball properly, it’s not he end of the world if he slumps a bit. The bench guys, like Chris Colabello, Justin Smoak, and Ezequiel Carrera, haven’t been hard for opposing pitchers to figure out, but they can’t stay cold all season, right?
The good news for the offense is the fact that Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, and Edwin Encarnacion are having great starts to the season, and are keeping this team in most games.
The bullpen might feel like it is in shambles, but it’s too early to say that this team needs an upgrade in that area. The starting pitching, which was eye-opening earlier this year, looked like it needed help. But aside some not-so-great games from R.A. Dickey, the starters are looking good so far. Marco Estrada has a 2.77 ERA, Aaron Sanchez is rocking a 1.35 ERA, and J.A. Happ of all people has a 1.89 ERA. Two years ago, the starting pitching was great and the bullpen didn’t deliver. Last year, the bullpen got upgraded as well as the starting rotation and we know how that turned out.
If the starters continue to pitch this well for most of the season, there will be no need to worry whatsoever. Fans just need to keep their fingers crossed that the Jays bullpen can bring it together and that their top-of-the-line offense wakes up. If those things happen, it will be another great summer of baseball for the Blue Jays.
Now, before people start blaming Mark Shapiro for the so-so start and for some of the players’ struggles, and before they start saying he isn’t doing anything yet to make this team better, please remember the Jays under Anthopolous the last three seasons never had the most glorious starts. In 2015 the Jays ended April with an 11-12 record, while in 2014 the Jays were 12-14. In 2013, the Jays were 10-17. Suddenly, 7-7 has never looked so good. April has never been a good month for John Gibbons.
It’s not time to take the pitchforks just out yet. The management knows they need a winning team on the field and if this team doesn’t deliver, they won’t be afraid to make changes to get more wins. People seem to forget that Anthopolous only became a beloved GM after he got David Price, Tulo, and the other guys who helped the Jays on their deep run. So please remember, a not-so-great start in April doesn’t mean the end of the season; it’s just something the Jays do. They always have a pretty good month in May, so please have patience.