Bring on Beantown

Cecil needs to bounce back after a rough start to the season


Who gets the feeling we’ll have a very good feeling about what the 2011 Toronto Blue Jays are all about after this weekend?

Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s patently ridiculous to put any one stretch of four games on a pedestal as any kind of ultra-important barometer for the whole season. Meaning, if the Jays happen to be the ones to end the Red Sox skid and lose three-out-four or get swept, it’s hardly time to throw in the towel on the season. Conversely, if the Jays happen to have a series win or a sweep (pleaaaaaaaase), I won’t be scouting out locations on Yonge Street for the parade.

However, the Red Sox are obviously a very good baseball team who have gotten off to a very, very bad start. It seems illogical to think they will stay in this funk forever. At one point or another they will likely win 6 or 7 games in a row and then this little losing streak of theirs will likely be a thing of the past as they challenge for the AL East crown.

The Jays have gotten off to a reasonable start, albeit having cooled off lately and are facing their first AL East test.

Toronto struggled to a 6-12 mark against Boston last year, which was by far their worst in the AL East (15-3 vs. BAL, 10-8 vs. NYY, 8-10 vs. TB).

Not that Minnesota, Oakland and LA are pushovers by any stretch, but things seem a bit different when Toronto faces off with AL East powerhouses. Will this  gritty, hard-nosed, determined (and every other descriptor announcers seem to like to use) Jays team come out of the gate and show their Hustle and Heart 2.0 attitude that won’t let them be pushed around?

Or, as has frustratingly been the case over the years, will the Jays be a perfect opponent for a team to snap out of a skid against?

Here’s the great thing about baseball, I have no idea but I can’t wait to watch and find out.

It’s also a big start tonight for Brett Cecil, who has looked less than impressive in his two starts thus far this year and truth be told, shouldn’t be just be handed a season-long pass to the major leagues just because he led the team in wins last year. With Morrow hopefully soon about to be healthy and the Jays having a number of options, I’m sure Cecil knows the importance of this start.

Fortunately, the Sox are a left-handed heavy lineup, so, there’s that.

Also, just to keep in mind… As enjoyable as it has been to watch Boston struggle out of the gate so much, they are just one four-game sweep away from being ahead of Toronto into the standings and really only a few games back of contention again. Simple point being, yes they have dug themselves into a bit of a hole, but, it’s only April.

There’s also the fact the Red Sox seem to be already planning to juggle their rotation and skip certain starters following their rainout against Tampa Bay. I know in part this is to keep some pitchers on their regular schedules, but pulling the rug out from under a starter like John Lackey (whose start is expected to be skipped this weekend) after a couple of bad starts – that just reeks of desperation.

It’s rare to have a team on the ropes in a series before the series even starts, but the Red Sox just have the feeling of a club who is already on the ropes, just waiting for the next collapse or disappointment to happen.

Let’s go Jays.

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