Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why May will be a Better Month for the Blue Jays:

          As it has been well-documented, the much anticipated Toronto Blue Jays 2013 edition has not gone as expected so far this year, and while that old saying “it’s early” should probably be the highest trending hash tag on Twitter, it is likely getting pretty old for Blue Jays fans. Should we be worried that we currently sit 9.5 games behind the team we are playing (i.e. Boston Red Sox) or should we be more focused on the fact that it is May now and there are actually some signs of life for this ballclub after a brutal April.

          Encarnacion is Back!
          Edwin Encarnacion or EE has been hitting the ball hard since April 2nd, but really until the past 10 days, he has not had anything to show for it. In the opening road series in Detroit, Edwin was hitting .090 and had two home runs but his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was atrocious and it was physically impossible for it to remain at that low of a level for the whole season. Now, the hits are starting to fall or go to the 5th Deck and we are seeing that last year was no fluke for Encarnacion or his awesome right wing rounding the bases.

          Reyes is Healing

           Losing Jose Reyes after just 10 short games was a huge blow to both the offense and in the clubhouse, but while we all appreciate him staying with the club to cheer on his teammates, we would much rather see him on a rehab assignment to get back as soon as he can, and that is going to happen in the next few days. Buck Martinez hinted a few days ago during a broadcast of Blue Jays game in New York that Reyes was expected to begin a strengthening program with the week and going from there. He is still not very close or even somewhat close to coming back as the Blue Jays placed him on the 60-Day DL not too long ago (April 23rd to be exact) so he is not eligible to play in a big league game until June 22nd which is absolute best case scenario with that leaving Reyes having played a full 95 games in the 2013 season, which would be amazing.

          Casey the Next Kimbrel?

          When Sergio Santos was brought in as really the only significant piece of the 2011-2012 offseason for the Blue Jays in exchange for highly touted prospect Nestor Molina, he was expected to be the closer of the future for the team, but after only a handful of relief appearances that year and with an ERA over 9.00 and two blown saves, he was shut down for the rest of the season and had to undergo shoulder surgery causing to miss the whole season. While rehabbing throughout 2012, Casey Janssen stepped in more than admirably and recorded 22 saves in 25 opportunities with a sparkling 2.54 ERA as the “temporary closer”. With Santos being fully healthy for Spring Training, the closers question was once again in the air as Santos has the better stuff with a high 90’s fastball and arguably the best slider in the game (sorry Luke Gregerson) but with Janssen doing so well last year in that role, the Blue Jays went to the more proven commodity in Janssen heading out of Spring Training. Shortly into the season (April 13th) the Blue Jays lost Santos again to right triceps tightness, and with Santos’ arm problems the Blue Jays and Major League Baseball have been able to watch the emergence of an afterthought reliever a few short years ago. Janssen has gone a perfect 7/7 in save opportunities this season and has shown no signs of slowing down.

          All in all, the Blue Jays season has been pretty terrible to this point, but the pitching is getting better the team batting average is up to about .230 and the bullpen, while overworked, is still doing their job. There is room for optimism for Toronto Blue Jays fans, just be patient.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @TheRealNickBell

Nicholas Bell

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