Thursday, March 27, 2008

7 Things That Must Happen if The Jays are Going to Win the Wild Card

Unlike other contributors to this blog, I have not given up on the Blue Jays before the season has started. Granted, they are still likely to finish third with a record that is four games above .500, followed by the inevitable firing of Riccardi, followed by three shitty rebuilding years, followed by four mediocre years, followed by the cycle starting again. That being said, the Yankees are not nearly the powerhouse they've been recently and the Red Sox have a lot of question marks in their rotation, especially if Beckett misses significant time. I've decided Toronto will need to win at least 93 games to have a chance at the Wild Card, and I feel like this is possible if most of the following happen.

1. Big breakout years years by Alex Rios and Dusty Lambchops

I'm pretty confident McGowan will throw down a pretty serious year. Only ten pitchers had more strikeouts after the All-Star break last year and his numbers got better every month. He needs to emerge as almost dominant and make 30 some starts.

I don't feel so great about Rios. Obviously the guy is really good, but I'm afraid he's never going to take it to the next level. His numbers have been identical for the last two years which, to me, indicates that he's reached his peak. I heard he came to Spring Training with 20 pounds of muscle so hopefully his power numbers go up. I'd like to see some more plate discipline too.

2. Don't lose nine games in a row in May

This is pretty obvious, but it was pretty much the season last year. If they would've won half these games, they would have been at least within shouting distance of the Wild Card in September.

3. A Good Start by Frank Thomas

This guy can still hit but has been a notoriously slow starter the last couple years. Last year he turned it up right around the time the Jays fell out of contention. They can't afford that, so he needs to be more consistent.

4. A More consistent Halladay

This falls in with the Thomas thing, in that they can't afford to fall behind in the standings if they want to make the playoffs. Roy was as good as can be expected at this point in his career for most of the year, but had a disastrous May and a weak June which, not coincidentally, coincided with his appendectomy and the nine game losing streak. The declining strikeout rate also concerns me, and they should have John McDonald out there whenever he pitches because of this.

5. Another Huge Year from the 'Pen

I can't possibly complain about the performance of the relievers last year, but I'm going to preemptively complain about this years performance. With no Janssen and no Beej for at least the first month, we're going to see a lot of Jason Frasor, Brandon League, and Scott Downs for the first while. This has the potential to work great as long as Gibby does not attempt to make Downs' arm fall off again.

6. Bounce back years from Vern and Overbay

These guys were simply awful last year, partially due to injury, partially due to general shitty play. This can't happen again.

7. Stay Healthy

This is probably a pipe dream, I'll admit, but it's pretty much the only chance we've got. Pretty hard to win with replacement level players and on a team this thin, you're pretty much getting AAA guys. It's probably a bad omen that Janssen is gone for the year, and Rolen and the Beej are out at least until early May and AJ already had problems.

Who the hell am I kidding? This team is going no where fast unless they get extremely lucky. New York isn't that great anymore, but there's enough other good teams in the AL that they will need to be almost flawless to make the playoffs.


Nazi Synthesizer said...

I remember two years ago it was reported Rios added 15 pounds of muscle going into camp. Had a great year. If he just added 20 who knows what he can do. Not really serious...but, I don't think he's reached his peak just yet.

Pretty much agree with everything else.

and if FT has a good start I will think someone is fucking with reality.

Anonymous said...

Post something a little more boring next time. asshole.
nobody cares about baseball or your precious blue jays. make a post about a real sport, like cricket.

Anonymous said...

the only kind of cricket i know of is the kind that i suck out of your mother's vagina when i go down on her

The Manute Bol Experience said...

Thank you for your constructive criticism, anonymous! Perhaps you could give me another idea to post about other than cricket; I'm afraid I don't have multiple days to commit to a single game. You're lucky the Jays got rained out today or you would have got another Jays post.

Anonymous said...

that 3rd comment is too gross for life.