I think I pissed a few people off with my last Blue Jays article when I said J.P. should be fired and that the Jays will not make the playoffs. Hey, I write it how I see it. However, there is always another side to the story….or coin as they say. Here are five reasons the Jays can keep it going and make the playoffs.
This is an easy one of course. The Jays lead the league in runs, team average and wins. Aaron Hill leads the league with 54 hits as of today. Adam Lind is 3rd, and Vernon Wells is 11th. Everyone is getting in on the action. Even the enigmatic Alex Rios broke out of a 2 for 18 slump today. Even if the pitching struggles, this team is never out of a game. They haven’t shown any signs of slowing down
Most felt this would be their undoing this year. With the departure of A.J. Burnett and injuries to Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan, they were supposed to get lit up. In comes Ricky Romero and Scott Richmond, and the Jays were off and running. Even with injuries to Romero and Jessie Litsch things didn’t implode. Career reliever Brian Tallet and Brett Cecil pitch a couple of gems and the Jays take two of three against Oakland. The Jays have a solid bullpen as well. When everyone is back healthy, the Jays will have something that seemed unfathomable two months ago, too many good pitchers. That will only make the pen stronger. I never even mentioned Roy Halladay, but I don’t think I need to.
The trio of Cito Gaston, Brad Arnsberg and Gene Tenace have done wonders. I think they are making J.P. look very good. Whatever they’re doing is working. The players trust them and believe in their methods. When players and coaches are a cohesive unit, talent is maximized. The Jays are the perfect example.
Besides the pitching, the Jays have decent depth in the field. DH Travis Snider can play the outfield if someone goes down. Jose Bautista plays right field, third and first. John McDonald is a great defensive fill in at short or second and they’ve got Kevin Millar at first base. Bautista and Millar are batting .328 and .327 respectively. They don’t stockpile talent like the Red Sox or Yankees, but they have enough if injuries occur.
5) The GM
Anyone who read my last Jays article thinks I’m nuts. Although his trade history is brutal, let’s look at the positives. J.P. has drafted very well. No one could have expected some of these draft picks to succeed how they have, but that’s how it goes. You often don’t know for a few years. I find this especially true in baseball. Travis Snider, Jessie Litsch, Ricky Romero, and Adam Lind are just a few. It seems there is more on the way. He has significantly improved the Jay farm system in his time here as well. For the first time in his tenure here, J.P. is looking, dare I say….smart.
So there it is. Five reasons I think they can keep this ride going. Weather they do or don’t, they’re definitely a fun team to watch…..so far.