April showers bring May flowers.
So the saying goes. Jays fans everywhere were hoping the same thing applied to the team, that April’s struggles and bad play would lead to a focused and determined team in May, ready to make amends for a poor start and charge up the standings.
Sadly that didn’t happen.
Toronto started May 0-4, and scored only three runs in the process. Though they rebounded with a nice win yesterday, a win where they finally looked like the team we all thought they’d be, things look very, very bleak.
Especially with a trip to Tampa Bay up next.
Here are three things from week 5:
Week 5: April 29 – May 5
Record: 2 – 4
1. Dome Not Sweet Dome
Playing at home is supposed to be a good thing. Your fans give you an edge, and having last at-bat is a huge advantage. But home field hasn’t been kind to the Jays in 2013 so far. Toronto went 2-4 on just completed 6-game homestand, and were outscored by a total of 12 runs. They even had a stretch of 23 consecutive scoreless innings. Not good.
This recent home debacle dropped Toronto’s home record to a dismal 7-12, with a -32 run differential. Only Cleveland, the Angels, and Houston have losing home records to date.
But the problem isn’t the fact that they’re losing (though don’t get me wrong – it is a problem). No, the problem is with HOW they are losing. They are getting blown out, kicked around, destroyed. They put pitchers on the ropes early then let them off the hook. They can’t hold leads. In short, they look lost on the field, and when players look bad on the field, fans get angry off the field. Never was that more evident than on Saturday, when R.A. Dickey was booed off the mound.
The Jays will be spending the next seven days on the road, away from the unhappy masses. Hopefully they play a bit looser, because if they come home with more losses, things are only going to get uglier.
2. What To Do With Lind?
Adam Lind is becoming a curious enigma in Toronto. He can’t hit lefties, and he no longer plays every day because of it . Lind appeared in four games last week, starting only three of them. When he does play, he looks feeble at the plate. He is hitting only .226, with four extra base hits. He is striking out with the bases loaded and leaving guys on base. He only has 3 RBI on the season – a third of Mark DeRosa.
However, Lind – believe it or not – leads the team in on base percentage, with a .391 mark. That would be good enough for 15th in the AL if he had enough at-bats to qualify. That is mostly due to his improved batting eye. He has drawn 15 walks on the season, two fewer than Jose Bautista for the team lead, and tied for 15th in the AL.
On one hand, you can make a case that he should be in the lineup more often, batting second in front of Bautista and Encarnacion, and giving them RBI opportunities. On the other hand, you can make a case that he shouldn’t be playing at all. At least not batting fifth, where his 0 HR and weak bat limit run scoring chances.
It’s a tough conundrum for Gibbons, but sadly, there aren’t any other options…
3. Ricky is Back…
…and not much has changed. Things started out well enough for Romero, but crumbled quickly, something Jays fans got used to seeing in 2012. He faced the minimum in the first three innings, picking up three strikeouts. But things fell apart in the fourth . Three walks, a hit batter, a wild pitch, a home run, and a single, and suddenly Romero found himself trailing by three. He didn’t come out for the fifth.
This wouldn’t be much of an issue if the “minor” injury to Josh Johnson was actually, you know…minor. But the latest word is that Johnson won’t be back until the end of May at the earliest, meaning Romero will be here to stay. With the Jays sitting at 11-21 and already 9.5 games back of Boston, he can’t afford to throw anymore four inning duds. We need all the wins we can get.