June 14, 2012
It's frustrating being a Jays fan
By PETER WORTHINGTON, QMI Agency
TORONTO - Statistically, the Major League Baseball season is one-third over; but to QMI Agency baseball writer Mike Rutsey, for the Toronto Blue Jays, the season is virtually 100% over. Kaput.
Mike’s reaction to pitcher Brandon Morrow’s possible season-ending injury to his oblique muscle (whatever that is) after a couple of pitches against the Washington Nationals on Monday, was that it ended the Jays’ hope for a playoff spot.
And the Nats didn’t even have Alexander Ovechkin in the lineup!
I fear Rutsey is more right than wrong.
To make matters worst, starter Kyle Drabek heard the dreaded popping sound in his elbow while pitching against the Nationals on Wednesday. His status going forward is very much up in the air
What is it about these Blue Jays?
I don’t pretend to be a baseball expert, but I’m a fairly consistent fan. As such, I trend towards the over-optimistic while being ever-aware that the team (my team!) works diligently at disappointing people like me.
I get uneasy when the Jays do well in spring training games that mean nothing — as happened this year. I should have seen it coming. With 10 straight wins this spring, it should have been obvious that disappointment and frustration lay ahead.
Not only were fans dazzled by spring training success, but the team seemed persuaded that it was better than was warranted. I worry that at best, the Jays are a .500 team. But at this one-third mark of the season another .500 finish looms — if they’re lucky.
Last season they ended 81-81.
This year, brainwashed as I was by the spring training heroics, I thought 90 wins was possible. What a dreamer! Sad to say, but maybe congenitally the Blue Jays are a .500 team. Always respectable in a tough division, but always a bridesmaid.
Curiously, when the Jays economize with salaries — they wind up around 50-50 in wins and loses. In years when they splurge on salaries — again 50-50 in wins.
The potential for this year’s Jays was (still is if they’re lucky) exceptional.
They started the season stealing bases like mad — then drifted back to waiting for the long ball. Fielding is as good as any, with only first base a bit iffy.
The Jays hit pay dirt in centre field with Colby Rasmus, whose deer-in-the-headlights demeanour is a contrast to his splendid fielding and surprising bat. Brett Lawrie is an exciting player who inspires and radiates aggression in the field and on bases.
Edwin Encarnacion filled the gap of Jose Bautista’s slow home run start, but now that Bautista seems back in mode, that’s another positive. But what’s gone wrong with Blue Jay bats — not one .300 hitter among regulars. It’s feast-or-famine hitting. Why?
In short — this is a good team with considerable potential that is not being tapped.
The management is arguably the best in baseball, the players excel at every position, and they are exciting to watch — but frustrating.
What’s puzzling to us fans is when the Jays are three or four games above .500 they go into a dive and lose three or four. Their comfort zone is .500. Some of us fans are weary of our endless optimism being replace by pessimism
Winning 90 games, or even 85 for a shot at making at the playoffs, seems to drift further away, even though the Yankees, Red Sox and Tampa Bay have had lapses this season. Baltimore is hard to take seriously so I don’t — unless it is playing the Jays.
Maybe the Jays will come alive in July. If not, another .500 season beckons — if they’re lucky.
Once again it’ll be “Wait ‘till next year!”