Friday, July 6, 2012

Where do we stand?

The season is at the split. There are only 79 games to go. The Jays are still at .506. Now that the bats have come alive the pitching has wound up hurt and battered.

The Jays have one of the best first four/five – Adam Lind now added – lineups out there. They are doing their jobs and keeping us in each game. The pitching has fallen completely apart.

Romero is back to his old ways of throwing too many walks. Alverez has just lost steam.  So much for the top two starters. The rest of the new starting rotation is leftovers from spring training that did not pan out. Now, half way thru the season, they are what are left of this most severely ravaged lineup. The most touted of the best of the rest scenario is Brett Cecil. He can be good and then serve up the pitches like fruit, ripe for the hitting. His battle against the Royals was his typical type of performance. He settled down only when the Jays scored their own runs. Good for him, but not good for extending our hopes with this inconsistent approach.

The rest just are not consistent enough to warrant much discussion except to say they are not starters. John Ferrell needs guys to eat up innings, but at what cost? Many have been left in too long and the opposition reads them like a book and lights them up. So the starting rotation is a bust.

The bullpen – just like last year – has to pull a rabbit out of the hat. Sometimes it even works. But they are being battered. If, and that’s a big if, the Jays starters can get thru the sixth inning we go straight to Jason Frasor, then Darren Oliver and on to Janssen. They are a fairly consistent combination for the end of a successful game. It works fifty percent of the time. Jason Frasor has lived up to expectations. Oliver and Janssen who have gone way beyond expectations. Oliver put balls in play the defense can handle and Janssen throws strikes with his stellar save performances. Can’t beat that.

What are the Jays to do? Pitching is the thing. They need to go and get someone. Someone, maybe like a Matt Garza. Good stuff. The Jays can handle the contract and he will be around for a few years. They can get him thru 2014 and he is only 28. The Cubs are a bust this year again. Anthopoulos might get him for some hitting which the Cubs need. Or future prospects? Good idea. I do not subscribe to the save the young talent because they are too good and are going to take the MLB by storm. Some do and some surely do not. I know some who think that Anthony Gose, Travis d’Arnaud and Adeiny Hechavarria are the best thing since sliced bread and therefore untouchable. Maybe so, but most winning teams get established players from other clubs thru trades to finish the building project – fill in the gaps – that catapults them to the WS. The Jays did exactly that in ’92 and ’93.

The reason we should have a great farm club is to make the season happen. Wheeling and dealing should be Anthopoulos’ mantra. I think it is. We will see something big from him. Paul Beston is there to support and put money on the table. I think Anthopoulos will make a “Stand Pat” type of deal. If not this year then next. Wait for it. It will be big, and take the Jays to the next step.

The Jays have not had a streak over four games and evened that out with a loss of four as well. The Yanks have had a 10 games steak and two 5 games streaks. The rest have done better as well. The Jays are on a pace with the Tigers. Enough said. The Tigers are another team who should be playing better. In the West, we have the Rangers, who are the best on MLB so far. They have the experience and pieces to get to the WS again. Now the Jays face the red hot White Sox who have just blown off the Rangers and who have the best “last of ten” in baseball.

Do they have a chance for 2012? For my part, I hope it is sooner than later. The Jays fans have waited too long for some good to come of their hopes. Only as a wild wild card could they possibly make it now. For that they would need to go .607 the rest of the season and to jump over the Red Sox and The Rays. It is a tall order with the pitching in a mess. Will that happen? No. The rest of the AL east is on fire. Even the baffling Orioles are still there. Go figure.

Well, to all who read Late Innings I bid you all a fond adieu. I am off to parts known and unknown till September. I do hope that the Jay’s fortunes improve with my absence. It will be a wild, wild time.

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