|Point-Counterpoint: Blue Jays Future|
Written by At Home Plate Staff (Contact & Archive) on May 18, 2009
Toronto currently has the best record in the majors at 26 wins and 14 losses and leads the AL East by 3 games over the Boston Red Sox. Everyone's favorite pick for fourth place in the East is one of the biggest early season surprises, but are the Blue Jays for real or will they fade as the season progresses? Adam Adkins and Daniel Paulling debate.
Easy Schedule Prop up Jays
If you think that makes sense, I want to sell you a cliff. They’re great for running off of.
Folks, the reason the Blue Jays are 26-14 is so simple I am appalled that people paid to talk baseball cannot comprehend it. Keith Law nailed it, not only here but with the Marlins. It’s the schedule, stupid. The Jays have played series against the following (all win-loss records going into Sunday): Detroit (19-16), Cleveland (14-24), Minnesota (18-19), Oakland (13-20), Texas (22-14), Chi Sox (15-20), Baltimore (16-21), Angels (18-17), Yankees (19-17), and the Royals (19-18). They’ve had two series with the Indians, White Sox and Oakland.
Five of those teams are under .500, and conveniently the double sets were all with losing teams. Gee, that would seem kind of important. There’s one other thing too; a conspicuous lack of Boston or Tampa.
Is that important to anyone else? Sure is to me. It’s all well and fine when Ohio State slaughters Youngstown State, but we’ll see how good they are when the Trojans of SoCal roll into town. Toronto is good enough to win the AL Central, but once they roll into the big boys (the Bombers took two of three in Toronto) they will fall. I promise you.
But 84 or so wins is reasonable. Which is fine, but that simply isn’t winning the AL East.
Health will Help the Blue Jays
By Daniel Paulling
Toronto jumped to the top of the American League East early in 2009. Some will discredit the Blue Jays hot start to an easy schedule, and there is merit in that argument. After all, once Toronto plays the Red Sox and the Rays, its record and spot atop the AL East figures to drop.
How bad is this decline going to be? Let’s keep in mind a simple truism of baseball: Pitching wins. Toronto led the AL in both starters’ ERA and relievers’ ERA last season. While AJ Burnett was a big cog, the team returned the majority of its staff.
And that staff hasn’t been healthy. Jesse Litsch, who could be a solid No. 2 starter, has pitched only nine innings this season. He is targeting a return in mid-June after an elbow injury earlier this season. Throw in anything Dustin McGowan, who has been a solid middle-of-the-rotation starter in the past, contributes and BJ Ryan’s return to health in the Toronto bullpen, and the Blue Jays are beginning to have depth.
The teams chasing Toronto aren’t without significant flaws. Boston has questions surrounding its big three of Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and Daisuke Matsuzaka, while David Ortiz can’t hit. The Yankees bullpen is only a relief to the other team, while the Tampa Bay Rays don’t have the same magic as last season.
It may be a stretch to say Toronto will win the East, but it certainly shouldn’t decline too badly as it enters the difficult portion of its schedule.