Monday, June 10, 2013

The Week That Was in Blue Jays Land

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Courtesy of Getty Images/Yahoo
Who knew that a short three game stint at home for the Toronto Blue Jays would end up being more like four games? The series against the Rangers had a little bit of everything; great pitching, a grueling 18 inning affair, and an overall close three games.

In the end, the Blue Jays ended up taking the series against one of the best teams in the American League, which should be cause for celebration. But that's not what people will be talking about. Here's a quick wrap-up of the week that was in Blue Jays Land.



Bautista Blows Up

Most might have been outraged at Jose Bautista's behaviour in yesterday's game, I actually didn't mind it. Bautista is the kind of player that lives and dies on borderline calls, and when a call doesn't go his way, he obviously gets upset about it.

Jose Bautista doesn't seem like the kind of player who would try to show up the umpires; he just genuinely feels like he has a very firm grasp of what the strike zone is around him.

When Bautista argues calls like that though, I feel like he's on a one-man crusade to turn the tide against the umpires. My suspicion is Jose is hoping somebody else will stand up in support of those egregious calls ... but it's just not happening.

Unfortunately, Bautista's outbursts usually backfire and end up making him look like the bad guy instead of the other way around. Had it been a truly bad call, Jose might have had more people vouch for him, but that called strike one to him in his final at bat was borderline at best.

While Jose Bautista has shown clear displeasure with the umpires this season, he's only been ejected once for his so-called "attitude". And tossing his equipment onto the field may have been somewhat childish behaviour, but at that point he was already ejected anyway.

The only unfortunate part would've been had the Blue Jays had in fact tied the game and sent the game to extras, that would leave them without one of their best hitters in the lineup.


The Rotation is Clicking

It may have taken a good nine or ten weeks, but it appears as though the Blue Jays starting rotation is finally showing signs of life. On paper, they were billed as one of the best starting five in baseball, and we can all agree that simply hasn't been the case.

One of the primary reasons is their starting pitchers simply weren't going deep into games, hence why the Blue Jays bullpen has had to pitch the most innings in the Majors at 241.1 innings.

Save for Josh Johnson's mediocre start yesterday, the starting rotation posted a 1.69 ERA and opponents were batting just .181 in seven previous starts this past week. The rotation also yielded one earned run or less in four straight starts.

I'm not quite sure how well the Chien-Ming Wang experiment is going to go on Tuesday, and one wonders how Esmil Rogers will continue to progress as a starter, but Dickey, Buehrle and Johnson are beginning to pitch as they were advertised.


Dustin McGowan Returns

Hands up if you thought Dustin McGowan would ever return to pitch for the Blue Jays again? McGowan has seemingly overcome all odds and once again has suited up for the Blue Jays for the first time since September of 2011.

Considering the number of setbacks that McGowan has endured over his career, it's nothing short of a miracle that he's pitching in the Major Leagues again. Not to get all sanctimonious here, but Dustin McGowan has proved that anything really is possible.

The Blue Jays have obviously made a commitment to McGowan, but my fear is that if he shows an inability to perform at the big league level, Alex Anthopoulos may be afraid to cut ties with him and let Dustin go if need be.

Make no mistake, Dustin McGowan's comeback is an incredible story; it's practically begging for the Stephen Brunt video essay treatment. However, the Toronto Blue Jays have to do what's best for the Toronto Blue Jays.

In the meantime, it's incredibly cool to see Dustin McGowan back with the Blue Jays once again. I just hope that he still has the stuff to stick around with the club for the remainder of the season. 


Lind Still Killin' It

Last week I touched on Adam Lind's comeback season, and who ever thought it was possible, but Lind is getting even better as the days progress. He's now hitting .340 on the season, which is by far the best on the Blue Jays roster.

It would honestly not surprise me if Adam Lind bagged AL Player of the Week honours, he's been that good as of late.

Since May 7th, Adam Lind leads the Major Leagues in AVG and ranks second in the American League in OBP and OPS. There simply has not been a more consistent hitter than Adam Lind since early May ... which is still sort of odd to wrap one's head around.

Lind's unusually high .387 BABIP seems to indicate that he's due for a regression at some point, but I'm not sure if that will in fact be the case. Adam Lind is finding a lot of holes in the infield, but he's also slapping a lot of singles to the opposite field.

At this point, I don't know if Adam Lind is inadvertently putting on an audition for another team, but that $7 million dollar option for 2014 is suddenly looking more and more enticing to not only the Blue Jays, but a prospective trade partner as well.

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