April has been a tough month to be a Blue Jays fan. Certainly it’s not unusual for good teams to have bad starts, but winning 8 out of 25 to start out the season is a huge letdown for fans who have followed a team that has gone to the league final the past two years in a row. To say that this has been a surprise so far, I don’t think would be putting to fine a point on it.
If we look at for example one of the sites we track regularly that uses statistical models to predict the season (fivethirtyeight.com) prior to the beginning of the season the site predicted an 84-78 finish for the Jays, but now picks them to finish dead last in the east with a 76-86 record.
What’s happened then? Challenges such as low run support, frequent bullpen collapses and having two key position players and two starting pitchers on disabled list hasn’t helped matters. It has been hard for fans, and likely players I would guess, not to be concerned about this year.
That’s why what this past weekend is positive, with the Jays winning their first season of the year against the Rays. One of the great things coming out of the two wins this weekend is the performance of the bullpen: letting up only one earned run in 12 innings, with Osuna looking like his previous self with two back-to-back saves after a shaky start. Despite this tendency to be excited about the series win let’s not get to excited yet.
A few things to consider: it’s only two wins in a row, the Jays offence was still lacklustre as they only scored 11 runs in three games and Sanchez might well be back on the disabled list come tomorrow. Oh, and one more thing the Jays were playing the now 12-14 Rays. Later today fans will get a better idea of whether the Jays have started to turn a corner when they meet the New York Yankees, currently the hottest team in the A.L. East.