Monday, June 6, 2011

Back Into the Swing of Things


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Images courtesy of Daylife via AP and Reuters Images
It's taken the Blue Jays almost 60 games to get here, but it appears the club is finally hitting their stride with a third of the season complete.

Now with Adam Lind healthy once again and possibly the most deadly 3/4 hitters in baseball right now, the Blue Jays are finally ready to really do some damage. That was especially evident this past weekend against their weaker brother, the Baltimore Orioles.

What's even more incredible is despite a bevy of key injuries to their lineup, it really hasn't hurt the team as much as we think it has. I mean, look at the Minnesota Twins for instance; they're a team  that's been decimated by injuries and it shows.

The Blue Jays on the other hand have struggled when guys like Jose Bautista, Adam Lind, Rajai Davis and even Yunel Escobar have been out of the lineup, but they weren't floundering like a fish out of water by any means.

I know this is probably going to induce a lot of eye-rolls when I begin to mention intangibles, but I truly believe this team has managed to keep its head above water because a lot of guys in the lineup have stepped up in the absence of other players.

Going into this season, some experts were concerned how the Blue Jays were ever going to possibly replace the power from the outgoing free agents such as John Buck, Lyle Overbay and Vernon Wells. 61 home runs? Heck, Jose Bautista could make up that difference on his own.

The long ball is certainly still part of the Blue Jays arsenal as they currently rank fourth in the league in home runs, but the 2011 incarnation of the Toronto Blue Jays is built as a complete team. They rank second in batting average and third in on base percentage.

Last year, the Blue Jays ranked tenth and twelfth in the league those categories respectively, so you can see how John Farrell has drastically shifted this team in such a short time span.

I believe that is what has allowed the Blue Jays to not skip a beat when somebody like Jose Bautista was out of the lineup for a couple game or when Adam Lind was on the DL.

A more complete team that can hit for average and get on base is more likely to pick up the slack when a power hitter is shelved for an extended period of time.

They've only had their complete lineup together for maybe a handful of ballgames, and yet the Blue Jays have hung in there hovering around the .500 mark ever since Opening Day.

I just can't wait to see what this team can do if the majority of this lineup can stay healthy for say the last 2-3 months of the season. It could get very interesting down the stretch if they do.

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