So with one month (well, technically two if we include March as a baseball month its own right), the Blue Jays have given us reason to be excited – and to cringe. Which is to say, more or less what we expected!
Team Record – 16 12 .571
which was good for third place and just shy of the wildcard spot. run differential of +28 was good. In short, better than last year, but trailing Boston and New York like most predicted.
Interestingly they had similar won-lost records at home and on the road. Tellingly, but not a surprise, they were just 5-7 against the teams that are supposed to be shoo-ins for the playoffs (Yankees, Red Sox, Indians) and a solid 11-5 against all other teams. If that continues, they will probably continue to be on the verge of a wildcard spot.
Player of Month – Kevin Pillar
is my pick. there was no overwhelming standout, which also bodes well since obviously the team’s not relying on just one bat. Almost everyone’s contributed at times, and Luke Maile and Yangervis Solarte have been nice surprises. Pillar’s been great at the plate and in the field though. He’s hitting .315 with 4 homers, 15 RBI and a team high 12 doubles, 5 steals. And a nice .574 slugging percentage, second to Teoscar Hernandez among regulars.
A caveat though, last year he also exceled in April and cooled off soon after. In 2017,he hit .301 with a .505 slugging percentage.After that he managed only .226 with a .351 slugging.
Pitcher of the Month- J.A. Happ
the only reliable one of the starting rotation, unfortunately. Six starts in he’s sitting at 4-1, 3.50 ERA (noticeably better than career 3.92 but similar to last year’s 3.53) with 50 strikeouts in just 36 innings and a great 7:1 K to BB ratio. Opponents are hitting just .219 against him. Unlike Pillar, Happ got off to a bit of a slow and injury-hampered beginning last year. The good point is that one would hope Marcus stroman and Marco Estrada will improve to something close to their potential or norm and if so, the team could really make a run for it since the
Story of the Month is bullpen strength.
The rotation has struggled badly but the ‘pen has been rock solid, with a stellar 2.16 ERA over 95+ innings (which equates to about 3 1/3 per game.) Tyler Clippard, John Axford, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes, roberto Osuna and only-around-a-day-or-two Tim Mayza all boast ERA’s better than 2. If the starters can help and give a few more innings, the bullpen should definitely keep Toronto in the running through the season.
Well, off to see how they’re doing in Minnesota today…