It’s insufferable to be a Jays fan right now, and certainly not just because the club is losing. The team will be fine, but clearly that doesn’t stop certain types of braying fucking morons from either outright losing their minds about normal day-to-day baseball failure, or from insanity like asking people like me questions such as, “when is it going to be OK to worry about so-and-so?” or “is tonight a must-win game?” As a consequence of all that, the stoic and rational among us, if they’re anything like me, must by now be deep into a tantric-like focus on the positive, whispering “serenity now” to themselves about all things sane, as though those utterances were some kind of force field keeping the suffocating knee-jerk stupidity that surrounds us out of our brains.
And that’s not even the shitty part! What really sucks is that there actually are things to be dismayed about fifteen games into this 162 game season, but those subjects have become hopelessly difficult to broach, for fear that they’ll send some eighty-games-and-out tool into a frothing, insufferable, perspectiveless rage.
The thing about the completely perspectiveless, though, is fuck them. Let’s not let the shortcomings of their feeble little minds get us too wrapped up in pushing for sanity that we can no longer kinda agree that the Jays haven’t had a very good start. Let’s be up front about what’s actually concerning about this club’s performance, so far, and not hold back. Maybe the truth will set us free– it usually does.
The injury to Jose Reyes
There will be no argument from anyone that this– though a freak accident that had nothing to do with his injury history, assclown– fucking sucks. Reyes was red hot atop the Jays’ lineup, and one of their too-few regulars getting on base with any kind of consistency. Not to mention, he’s fun as fuck to watch. His glove work maybe isn’t the greatest, but with Brett Lawrie now finally back, they’d have made a rock solid left side of the infield– as they will in two or three months.
Nothing that can be done about this one, but it certainly hurts the lineup, especially because…
Bonifacio and Izturis aren’t what we thought they were
It’s not exactly our fault, as fans, when we’re sold a bill of goods– though it maybe shouldn’t have been as difficult as some of us, myself included, found to look a little deeper into the backups the Jays were carrying for their injury concern of a shortstop– but where the fuck was the team on this? They’ve known since December that if Jose Reyes went down, Maicer Izturis and Emilio Bonifacio would be there to pick up the slack, and yet, when the time comes, they’re afraid to play them at short– for good fucking reason!– forcing the club to rely on Munenori Kawasaki, who, while awesome so far, isn’t exactly the guy anybody’s going to plan on running out there for three months.
Bonifacio already seems to have worn out his welcome at second base, as well– again, for good reason, though I’m not sure his awful play so far is 100% representative of what he’s capable of there– and uses his speed to mask brutal instincts and routes in the outfield, making one wonder– legitimately, and not in a panicky fucking idiot way– how the hell he was being sold as some kind of secret gem in November’s trade. If he’s pretty much just a backup outfielder and a pinch running threat, does he not kinda make Rajai Davis redundant? Or…
Wasn’t Casper Wells with the team for a little bit there?
And isn’t Casper Wells better than Rajai Davis at everything, save for baserunning? Yet he gets designated for assignment– I fear for the same sorts of reasons that Mark DeRosa has a comfy spot on the roster. Don’t want to disrupt the room with a better fielder per UZR in all outfield positions– including right field, where Davis best suited (per the metrics – and a better hitter for the role!
Rajai has posted a .347 wOBA and 118 wRC+ against left-handers over the last three seasons, while Wells– albeit in 313 plate appearances to 413 for Davis– is at .363 and 132. They had a better platoon-mate for Adam Lind or Colby Rasmus, and a fine pinch runner and backup outfielder already in Bonifacio, and yet they exposed Wells to waivers. What the hell is that about?
This fourth and fifth outfielder stuff wouldn’t be such an issue, of course, if not for the fact that…
Jose Bautista has to stay healthy
It’s another one of those things that just can’t be helped, but the lack of the team’s best hitter– coupled with the lack of their second best hitter– is definitely not making this team any more watchable right now. Shocking, I know.
That doesn’t justify that absolute horseshit conspiracy theories about the Jays hiding injuries or the astonishingly fucking dumb fucks talking about Bautista not being a gamer, though. Oh, did someone not predict with to-the-hour precision when something would be fully healed? HOW FUCKING DARE THEY, RIGHT?
But yes, it sucks to not have either Jose in the lineup. And every day Bautista’s back injury lingers makes the challenges that face the Jays’ offence that much more prominent. It’s entirely futile to complain about it, but it’s certainly a concern. So go ahead and bemoan it!
That all said…
There is still a lot to feel good about here, even if the mounting losses are dispiriting for the moment. History suggests– nay, insists– that from here forward the pitching will look a whole lot more like it did in the third turn through the rotation than it did in the first and second. Brett Lawrie’s return has given the club a massive defensive upgrade at third, and while his bat may take a little while to warm up, with him essentially starting Spring Training over again, he’ll be fine. The bullpen, even without Sergio Santos, looks solid (except maybe when Darren Oliver’s on back-to-back days or Steve Delabar is on back-to-back innings). Edwin Encarnacion won’t hit .200 forever, and J.P. Arencibia and Colby Rasmus have been excellent so far.
Yes, even Colby, who plays very good defence, and has sacrificed contact for power so far, to much better effect than you probably realize. Yes, striking out 45% of the time is fucking ugly, but the walk rate is better, and in this tiny BABIP- and HR-driven sample, he looks terrific: .375 wOBA, 140 wRC+.
The wins haven’t piled up the way anyone would have liked, and there are more, legitimate concerns than sometimes get acknowledged when the rational among us try to suffocate fires of lunacy with “it’s early, you fucking moron!” blankets, but the kind of starting pitching that this club has will cover a lot of temporary wounds, and there’s still a stupid amount of season left in which the club can dig itself out of the tiny hole they– and plain old “shit happens” luck– have created for themselves so far. There’s absolutely no reason to sweat it.
That doesn’t mean anybody has to like it, or is wrong to voice concerns about the club, but ultimately the “it’s early” and, more importantly, the “they’re bloody talented” prisms are the ones that everything needs to be viewed through right now. Lots of clubs start this poorly and are great, lots start off like rockets and fade away, and while it’s undeniable that every win is vitally important in the long run– especially in a division as tight and as battered by a tough schedule as the AL East– it’s just as important to remember that every team has losses like the ones the Jays have suffered through so far. Lots of them. That’s kinda how baseball works. It may not be very satisfying to think that way after wasting three hours on another turd, but dissatisfaction is a small price to pay for not being a fucking tool who thinks the season is probably over in mid-April.