Monday, July 30, 2012

Quick Thoughts

The boys have done much better than I was thinking they would when Bautista went down in New York. I'm really happy that Brett Lawrie seems to be showing no ill effects from his very, very scary fall into the camera bay walkway in Yankee Stadium. 

I'm a happy, happy girl that Snider is back where he belongs, trolling left for the Jays. He looked like never left during his first series back in Boston. I really do have a soft place in my fan heart for Lunchbox. So much so, I'm probably going to get my first player uni tee in years, if they start selling some Travis ones soon. Even better, I'd totally buy one with his twitter handle. More seriously though, I think more than his playing the last week and a bit, I have such a very high respect for Mr. Snider's attitude mindset. He speaks so well about his experiences and how he's come to where he is now. So very mature for his mere 24 years.

As much as we miss JoBau, I gotta say...seeing these three playing the outfield on Sunday was pretty great.

I know it's been a while fellow fans. I've been a bit of a busy baseball bee writing a little more professionally about the beautiful game for some other sites. But, I'm back now! I've missed the ol' Camera Bay.

Rest up since the Boys are on the West coast this week. Those of us in EST have some late nights ahead. Luckily for this girl, I'll be relaxing in my other favourite place on earth outside Sudbury.

Stay gold Jays fans...

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sweep, then almost swept

At the outset of this past home stand, I was hoping for the Jays to go 4-2, with two series wins. After the highly unsuccessful road trip the week before, I (and many who follow the Jays, I think) felt that the six games against the Orioles and Red Sox could be a great opportunity to put the ugly behind them. Personally, I think that swing through Tampa then Texas was the most condensed ugly we’ve seen from the Jays in a long time. I totally accept that at occasionally throughout the season there will be games you completely want to forget; I just don’t remember them ever being so close together before.

But, moving back to the home stand. The Orioles were on a bit of a downswing when they rolled in to Toronto, but they were still a team the Jays needed to beat. The Red Sox, on the other hand, were in the midst of playing better baseball then when they were here back in April. When you throw that in with the bad taste of Tampa and Texas, it all rolled out as a heightened desire to win for the moral and morale victory it would mean for Jays nation.

Obviously, we know the results of the home stand beyond the 4-2 record. It was great for the team to get the win on Sunday (and avoid being swept). It was also nice to add Drew Hutchinson’s excellent outing to the growing list of wonderful outings he’s had at the major league level. The only thing I will comment on is the lack of call for Kelly Shoppach leaning into the pitch. Even if you don’t consider that he stuck his elbow out, it’s hard to say he actually made an effort to get out of the way of the pitch. To me, that’s the bigger issue with the call. Anyone remember when Bautista wasn’t awarded a base after being plunked in the ribs because he failed to attempt to get out of the way, according to the ump? This instance with Shoppach was the opposite. In regards to Youkilis, I understand being upset because the pitch was near his head. I don’t, however, believe it was a retaliation pitch, even though Hutch had had good control up to that point.

Long has the AL East been called the toughest division in baseball, mainly because of the grass ceiling that used to be the Yankees and Red Sox. Well, I think two months into this season we’re seeing the East live up to its moniker in the truest sense. Who knows if it’ll look this way by the end of June, but consider this: all first teams have winning records, only three games separate first and last place, and the standings have been pretty close from the get-go.

I do think the Jays have the chance to end up at the top, or at least close enough to the top for a shot at the post-season. To this point, we’ve seen what this team is able to do, but not as consistently as we the fans or I’d imagine the team would like. Still, being above .500 and tied for fourth when Bautista is still just a little off from regular form, Romero hasn’t found his consistent fastball control yet, we have the youngest starting rotation and two of our everyday players demoted to the minors, we’re doing pretty well. The biggest things now I think are finding some of the desired consistency and the ability to beat their own division, most importantly the Rays.

So now the team heads to Chicago, before heading down to Atlanta to pick back up on the interleague portion of the schedule again. I’m excited for when the team comes home to face the Nationals, for the chance to see Harper and Strasburg (who might be pitching in the last game of the series). I'm also looking forward to some redemption against the Phillies when they come to town Father’s Day weekend. I’m sad that we won’t have the chance to watch Doc pitch again, but I am wishing him a speedy recovery so he can get back to being Doctastic as always.

Stay cool Jays' fans. I’m wishing you much baseball filled days and nights!

P.S. Rock On to JBau for winning the Honda Player of the Month award for May. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Suckage in other T-towns

Well, that sure didn’t end well.

When the Jays won the first game in Tampa, it felt like their fortunes might have turned, at least a little when playing at The Trop.

Yeah, not so much.

Then, there was Texas. It wasn’t pretty. Our offense started to look good, especially Colby Rasmus who seems to be coming around (yay!). On Friday and Saturday, it felt like the guys just couldn’t seem to catch a break and have one or two of the hard hit balls drop.

Sunday dawned with what looked like a decent chance for the Jays to avoid being swept. Shaking off what I’m sure was a disheartening loss the day before, the team seemed prepared to leave the Lone Star State on a winning note.  Then, the bottom fell out of the pitching.

I’m a firm believe that over the course of a season, hitting, pitching and defense will ebb and flow. They’ll be peaks and valleys, but the key is to keep either from being too great; in other words, consistency. Over 162 games, it’s irresponsible to believe that a pitcher, batter or defense isn’t going to have a bad game. What you can hope/plan for is for them not to have a bad game at the same time, and prepare for the other aspects of the game to support the one that’s sucking.

We saw that at the start of the season as the pitching carried the lack of offense. Now, the tide is turning back to other way. I don’t think anyone who has watched Morrow since he came to Toronto would have believed Friday was possible. But, anything’s possible especially in baseball.

Sometimes there are holes that are too deep to get out of in a particular game, even with the support of great pitching, hitting or defense. That’s what we saw Friday and the later innings on Sunday. Saturday was the abnormal game of the Texas series as the pitching was somewhat there. Alvarez wasn’t on his "A" game, but he was keeping the Jays in the game until being ejected on a bad call. I think the fact that the Jays kept it close for so long and the bullpen left so many Rangers stranded in the later innings shows the team’s resilience. Same with pulling to within 6 runs by the end of the game on Sunday.

Resilience is a strong factor for this Jays team. In part, I think it’s because they know they’re young and might still experience some growing pains. It’s also because they know how tough their division is. Luckily, we’re early enough in the season when resilience is still relevant and can be a silver lining to losing. There comes a point though, possibly as early as the All-Star Break, where cheering for the resilience of a team in frequent close/tough loses isn’t as comforting any more, even for us die-hards.

The team needs to shake it off and leave it that other time zone where it belongs. They’ve got a touch stretch against Baltimore and Boston this week. Congrats to Adam Jones for signing his contract today; well-deserved. He might play against us, but I’ve always enjoyed watching him play.

Real quick, something else the team needs to shake off is the latest additions to the Jays & umpires saga. Lots, and I mean LOTS, has been said/written/tweeted/blogged about this particular season story so far. All I’ll say is the guys need to take a deep breath and suck it up. I know it’s not easy, especially when in the heat of the moment, but it’ll go a long way to bringing back a professional rep with umpires, instead of the possibly uncomplimentary one the team has now.

Enjoy the week to come Jays' fans. I’ll be at the Dome 5/6 games this week. Excited doesn’t cover it.

P.S. Total ROCK ON to JP Arrencibia for becoming to the first Jays’ catcher to be name AL Player of the Week. He had a rockin’ couple of games at the plate last week, and truly deserved the honour. Go JPArriba!

Friday, May 11, 2012

One down, five to go…minus six days.

We are officially a whole month and six days removed from that Holy day known as Opening. And, as usual, I don’t think anyone would have been able to predict what has and hasn’t gone on in that time. (A healthy Pujols  needing  a month to hit a homerun? Really?) But such is the glory and beauty of baseball, as many, many lifelong lovers and observers will tell you.

From this blog’s beginning, I’ve been hesitant when dealing with expectations or potential, mainly because baseball is played by human beings. We’re not perfect, we don’t perform as expected or up to any perceived potential all the time.

Over a six month season, averages and histories may win out; things may level out after a while. Do I think the Orioles are going to win the AL East this year? Probably not, but there’s no real way to tell. There is never a way to tell what is going to happen on any given day of the baseball season, let alone multiple months from now.

It’s been interesting so far this season to see the reaction to the Jays. Our offense and the re-vamped bullpen were supposed to be the highlights that  help support our rotation as they learned and succeeded on the job. At least, that’s what it looked like on paper, right? Well, looks good on paper hardly ever looks good in person.

Over the first 32 games this season, the general impression I’ve gotten from a loud part of the Jays’ fan base is that Lind needs to be gone all together; Bautista has lost “it”; our bullpen is going to give someone a heart attack; Arencibia’s just a placeholder; and, Encarnacion is awesome. (As a side, I’ve leaned towards that last one since EE came to town.)

By no means do I think those opinions are indicative of what the whole fan base thinks, but they are by far the loudest impressions out there from fans about the state of the franchise and the possibility of playoffs in 2012 for the hometown team. Somehow, the main thing that seems to get lost here is that even if the more negative statements above have even a shred of truth, we’re still not out of the playoff hunt; no team has yet to run away with our or any other division. We’re not the only team that’s struggling one way or another, or the only team with a big bat that has yet to be sizeable this season.

The proverbial sky has not and is not fallen/ing. To a man I’m sure the Jays probably haven’t performed the way they would have liked to this point, but all hope for the post-season is not lost. We are still in the running; we still have the chance to challenge the top spot(s) in the AL East.

You know the old adage “You can’t win the division in April, but you can lose it”? There’s a reason the saying has stuck around.

With that in mind Jays fans, take heart. Maybe the team hasn’t performed to expectation or their “potential”, but they’re still finding ways to win. Do I think Lind, Bautista and Arencibia are going to start hitting? Yes, they’re too good not to. But I also know it might not necessarily be what we’ve come to expect from past performance, either good or bad. Great part of baseball – tomorrow is a new day, and you never know what can happen.

Enjoy the ride fellow fans, as I have a feeling it’s going to be pretty crazy.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Doubleheader on Day One

So, I think all Jays could agree that we got much more than we bargained for on Opening Day this year. Make that about 7 innings more.

Our boys in blue set a new record for longest Opening Day game ever (go boys!). Plus, JP proved that missing a sign doesn't always lead to disaster.

I think this not only builds off the great spring the Jays had, but also goes back to their extra inning record from last season and the sense that they weren't giving up easily in all those games. At no point did there seem to be any sense of rushing or pressing. The guys just put their heads down and went to work, and what a wonderful job they did.

Honest, awesomest Rock Ons to...
- the bullpen (I think things are going to be okay there this year...)
- JP for bringin' a new level to his defensive skills from last season
- Farrell and co. for making some great moves tonight.

Enjoy Good Friday or just Friday in general. At first I was a little sad for the tease of today's game followed by an off day, but a 16 inning, gritty game I think will satisfy me 'til Sat.

I think. JaysGirl5

P.S. As for the "new" unis - they looked amazing on TV today. But for the most part it just seemed like the team's been wearing them all along, especially the blue hats. I know they wore black last season, but seeing the blue back where it should be today kinda pushed those old unis out of my mind.