The Blue Jays are now, after a road trip through Tampa and Boston, sitting at 15-24. They are in dead last in their division. And yet, I am encouraged. Through April, and even through the first few games in May, there were a lot of places to point the finger of blame. At some point, every aspect of the game had failed miserably. Injuries, defense, lack of clutch hitting, bullpen meltdowns, starters getting shelled. Every night, you could see something going wrong, and it proved to be the Jays undoing twice as often as they were able to salvage something. 11-21 was the record as they set out on the road last week. they were, to my eyes, almost unwatchable.
I kept saying the same thing “Please, give me a reason to watch.” And lo and behold, they did. First game in Tampa, and Mark Buerhle survives the Inning Of The Damned, giving up 7 runs, but keeps on pitching 3 more scoreless… and the Jays score 8 to lock down a comeback.
Then game 2 is a comeback victory in Tampa again. There are breaks in the Jays favour, but Ricky Romero flames out in game 3, and the Rays win in extras on a Brad Lincoln walkoff walk in game 4 (embarrassing). Then the Jays roll into Boston and get 1-hit by John Lester.
So, it’s getting painful again. The sun comes up after a rain delay in Boston on Saturday, though, and the resurrected Mark Buerhle throws a bunch of zeroes up on the scoreboard. Even the bullpen surrendering the tying run in the 8th doesn’t sound death knell for the Jays. Adam Lind homers when it counts, and Casey Janssen lowers his ERA to 0.69 with a sweet little 9th inning. Sunday, the fresh face of Chad Jenkins steps onto the Fenway mound and capably handles one of baseballs best offenses for 6 innings, while the lineup smashes pitches around to support him… when the dust settles, the score is 12-4, Blue Jays the victors.
These are the ups and downs of a baseball season. This is the natural flow I might have expected coming into the year. Win a couple, take advantage. Then you lose a couple, that’s just how it goes. Coming around and finding a way to put a couple more wins together, that leads to a sense of confidence.
I don’t know if the Blue Jays are going to make a real run at the division. I really avoid predictions like the plague, but the team I saw for the last 7 games, I could enjoy watching this team for the rest of the season.