The Toronto Blue Jays ended the month of April with 11-14 record, which is exactly what the fans expected, right? Wrong, that is not what most fans were expecting at all, even if the Jays have never had a good April with John Gibbons at the helm. The main issues have been the offense having too many days where they aren’t scoring, and the bullpen, oh the poor bullpen, performing sub par at best. But with which group does the majority of the fault lie?
Well, the Jays rank fourteenth in the league in team ERA, they are in the middle of the pack for runs against, they are nineteenth in strikeouts, and fourteenth in opposing team batting average, at .247. That may not look that bad, but remember these number represent the team’s pitching as a whole, and the Jays starters have been very good so far this season.
Blue Jays Bullpen and Offense Struggling
As of May 2, Toronto’s starters have twelve wins, which puts them in a five-way tie for fourth place in the league. However, those twelve wins represent the total number of wins the team has right now. The teams starters are ranked tenth in the league for ERA and first in the league in innings pitched at 164.0. They still remain in the middle of the pack for runs against, but are tied for tenth place in strikeouts at 129 and are in eighth place with a .238 batting average against from opposing hitters. The Jays starters are in the top ten in the league in many important categories so far, and the Jays are getting great performances from Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, and, surprisingly, J.A. Happ (on most nights). What this shows is that the starters aren’t at fault.
The bullpen pitchers are the ones having a hard time. So far, they have zero wins and are tied with the Houston Astros for last place in that category. They are first in losses with eight, and the Blue Jays are the only team to reach eight losses thanks to the bullpen. The ‘pen owns a 4.04 ERA, which lands them in nineteenth place in the league, and their seven saves put them in sixteenth. Teams are batting .271 against them, which lands the team in twenty-seventh overall, and they have recorded the fourth-most blown saves. They have not helped their team with a lot of wins, which is alarming. However, the Jays pen has only allowed twenty-nine earned runs, the fourteenth fewest overall. Though the bullpen has not been good, the team also isn’t always getting the run support it needs.
The early struggles of the offense have come as something of a surprise. Over the past couple of seasons, Toronto has been one of the top offensive teams in the league, but this year the bats have gotten off to a slow start. They rank thirteenth in runs with 105, they have 195 hits (nineteenth most in the league), and 102 RBI (twelfth). Their batting average sits at an abysmal .230, placing them twenty-fifth in the league, and while they are seventh in the league in home runs, they are also sixteenth in OBP.
It’s really alarming that the one that the Blue Jays were really good at, scoring, has abandoned them thus far. This team can and should be very dangerous when it finally decides to wake up. Fans might just need to be a bit more patient. If motivation is needed, look at it this way: it’s just the beginning of the season, and this team always seems to heat up in May. Does the team need to make any drastic changes yet? Probably not. Let’s see how the first couple weeks of May go before people start gathering in angry mobs.
Nick’s Note: Here’s a fun stat that the Blue Jays owners must be happy with: the Jays are ninth in overall attendance with 438,865 fans, while according to ESPN.com, the team ranks seventh in average attendance, with 36,572 fans showing up per game. Not bad, Toronto.