It was a rough week for the Jays. First they were beaten to a pulp in Detroit, then the offense was held in Kansas City. Though they managed to win two of three against the Royals, they lost a key piece of the team when Jose Reyes went down with an ankle injury.
But a series win is a series win, and Toronto comes home for a seven game homestand with a little bit of momentum for the first time in 2013.
Here are three things from week 2:
Week 2: April 8 – April 14
Record: 3 – 3
1. Reyes Injured
By far the biggest story of the week was the horrific injury to Reyes. The star shortstop badly sprained his left ankle sliding into second base on Friday night, leaving the Jays with a gaping hole atop the lineup. Reyes will be out a minimum of one month, likely closer to three, and maybe even more depending on the healing process.
So the question becomes: now what? Reyes leads the team in batting average, hits, stolen bases, on base percentage, and OPS, so replacing him is next to impossible. Munenori Kawasaki did an admirable job on the weekend, going 1 for 3 with a stolen base, two walks, and an RBI, but he can’t be expected to fill even half of Jose’s shoes. There has been talk of moving Brett Lawrie to second, Bautista to third, and Izturis to short, but I think the best bet is to acquire a cheap fill-in until the All-Star break. Of course, that is easier said than done.
In a weird way, the injury might be a good thing for the Jays in that it will bring them together as they try to overcome it. As a genius friend of mine said: “I have a feeling the Reyes injury is actually going to polarize the Jays and be the tipping point for a wildly successful season.” At least we can hope so.
2. Where’s the Offense?
It’s still early and there is no reason to panic, but the lack of scoring is become a bit of a concern. Toronto has averaged 3.92 runs per game, which ranks 9th in the AL, but managed to score only 25 runs in 6 games last week, including a mere 5 on the weekend. They were held to only two hits in Saturday’s 3-2 victory, and only seven in yesterday’s loss.
For a team that should be stacked offensively, the Blue Jays are struggling immensely at the dish. When your fourth best OPS belongs to Mark DeRosa, you know things are off to a rocky start. Bonifaciio, Izturis, Encarnacion, and Lind all currently sport OPS’s of under .600. Lind especially has been terrible, with a .207 slugging percentage, and only four hits.
Things will improve, there’s no doubt about that. Let’s just hope the improvement comes sooner rather than later.
3. Lights Out Bullpen
Underrated and underappreciated. That is how one can describe the Blue Jays bullpen so far in 2013. Aside from Darren Oliver’s case of the yips in the ninth yesterday, Toronto’s ‘pen has been outstanding. The top seven of Janssen, Delabar, Loup, Cecil, Oliver, Rogers, and Santos have combined for an ERA of 2.25 and a K/9 ratio
of 8.55. Not bad at all.
Even more impressive has been the job done by Brett Cecil thus far. The bespectacled lefty has appeared in 7 games and pitched a total of 7 innings, allowing only 3 hits and 3 walks, and not a single run. His 0.00 ERA leads the team, and his 0.86 WHIP, and 12.9 K/9 ratio are both second to Casey Janssen. There was a lot of doubt that Cecil could make meaningful contributions to the Blue Jays this season, and he is proving everybody that he can.
He might even be the MVP of this team over the first two weeks.