Three Things From Week Twenty-One

Goins

Sincere apologies from 500 Level Fan – due to a week spent floating on a lake and drinking beer, I missed the “weekly things” post from week 20. 

But we’ll go ahead and skip that week and go straight to week 21, also known as Rock Bottom.

Just when you thought the 2013 couldn’t get any worse, that happened.  A drubbing in New York followed by a drubbing in Houston.  Things are getting ugly in Toronto, with some broadcasters calling for John Gibbons’ head, others calling for AA to step down, and many fans stuck somewhere in between.

Hey – at least losing isn’t boring!

Here are three things from week 21:

Week 21: August 19 – August 25

Record: 1 – 6

1. What the Hell Happened?!?!

On Friday August 16th I watched the Jays lose a tough game to the Rays, falling in the ninth inning 5 – 4.  The next morning I went on a week long vacation to a cabin with no electicity, no cell service, and many beers.  Though I wasn’t expecting much, I had visions running through my head that the Jays would reel off seven or eight straight wins and claw back into the fringes of the playoff race.

So you can imagine my shock and dismay when on Friday night (Aug 23) I come back to civilization and disover the following:

– Toronto was swept in New York to fall to 1-12 against the Yankees, and were in the process of losing two straight to the worst team in baseball

– Maicer Izturis was placed on the 60-day DL, and Jose Bautista on the 15-day DL

– Moises Sierra, Ryan Goins, and Anthony Gose were called up to join Kevin Pillar on the roster

– Chien-Ming Wang was somehow recalled from the minor leagues

– Dirk Hayhurst is calling for the head of John Gibbons

– Hundreds of Jays fans on Twitter are calling for the head of Alex Anthopoulos

Insane.  Incredible. 

Rock bottom.

2. Let the Kids Play

With the season an outright disaster and the number of injuries mounting, the front office is doing the right thing and letting the kids play.  While it’s true that the prospects called up over the past few weeks aren’t as elite as they once were (d’Arnaud, Marisnick, Syndergaard), it’s still important to see if the Jays have anything to work with moving forward.  There are a lot of questions surrounding this team (who plays second? is Adam Lind worth hanging on to? what happens in the outfield?) and if there is a chance that one of the youngsters can help provide an answer, what’s the harm?

Over the past few weeks, the team has called up Kevin Pillar (24 years old), Moises Sierra (24), Ryan Goins (25), and Anthony Gose (22) to the bigs, to fill the holes created by Izturis, Rasmus, Bautista, and Bonifacio.  Gose seems like the player with the most upside of the four, but don’t underestimate what a solid finish could do for a player like Goins.  It’s no secret that 2B has been a hole for Toronto this season.  Bonifacio and Izturis were bad bordering on terrible, and there really isn’t anybody primed to take over the role next year.  In his first three games in the majors, Goins has looked OK at the plate, going 4 for 12 with a double and an RBI, and looked consistent if not sharp in the field.  He is auditioning for a spot on the 2014 club.

For a team that was supposed to contend this year, this is not the way the Jays envisioned finishing the season.  But if a gem can be unearthed in the last six weeks, it will take some of the sour taste out of our mouths.

3. Kudos to Buehrle

Mark Buehrle was considered the “throw-in” in the big trade with Miami in the offseason, the guy whose salary the Jays had to eat in order to acquire Reyes and Johnson.  Well, unbelievably, Buehrle has become Toronto’s most consistent starting pitcher this year.  He leads the starters with a 4.08 ERA, and picked up his 10th win of the season yesterday – the 13th consecutive season he has reached double digits.

While Buehrle’s numbers haven’t been spectacular by any means, he has actually – maybe even quietly – been outstanding recently.  After being shelled by the Rays on May 6, his ERA stood at 7.02.  In 20 starts since then he has put up the following line: 9-5, 3.16 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and 93 K in 131 IP.  Even better, the Jays have gone 13-7 in his starts.

So even though nothing has gone right this season, let’s at least tip our caps to Buehrle for doing his part.

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