gibbersgun
The Jays aren’t getting the results lately — fifteen losses in their last 22 games, nine in their last thirteen — and though their slim lead in the AL East is holding, the torrent of insufferable whiny doomsaying that constantly threatens to overrun the conversation surrounding this team seems more than even usual to be ready to breach the floodgates and leave us all awash in sewage.

The main problem with this is that to get to the point of being one of the people who indulges in such things — whether utter negative hogwash spittle leaps from their lemon-sucking mouths or buoyant it’s-May-26th-and-they’ll-never-lose-if-they-never-change-and-trade-Rasmus-because-Gose-is-a-Juan-Francisco-like-found-God optimism — one has to shut off every rational impulse and cling to some air-thick feeling of absolute destiny magically “divined” though a process of, consciously or not, choosing what one wants to believe as the truth, and conditioning oneself to block out flickering pangs of reality like those guys who’ll hold their palms over a flame for as long as they can tolerate it. And in much the same way as with those guys, the obstacles of better judgment one must overcome to constantly piss and shit out this kind of pathological negativity would make a person who allows themselves to be capable of it pretty impressive and bad-ass… if it weren’t all so goddamned stupid.

Here is the reality of what’s going on with the Jays that shouldn’t be ignored: They have a 1.5 game lead in the AL East. They are six games over .500. Their starting pitchers continue to do reasonably well. The bullpen has a practically automatic piece in Casey Janssen, and a second tier of solid high-leverage, go-to relievers who are very dependable despite the occasional blow-up. The defence is OK, but will be quite a bit better when Brett Lawrie returns. The offence is in a rut and missing some firepower, but still strong enough and will only get stronger when Jose Bautista gets back. And the club will unquestionably be buyers on the trade market over the next month, and will almost certainly make themselves stronger in some of their weaker areas.

No, the results haven’t been there of late, but they’re not getting blown out, and their hitters — while a bit colder than you’d like of late, and a bit too reliant on replacement level guys — aren’t all mired in awful slumps. A few too many times for anybody’s taste a good pitching performance has lined up with an abysmal hitting performance. Sometimes pitching  decisions the manager has made or not made haven’t worked out the way that anybody would have hoped. But this is baseball — a team can’t impose its will on a game the way we’re taught to believe is the case with other sports. Batters still have to swing with impeccable timing at pitches they recognize in a split second are hittable, and get the barrel of the bat on the small, fast-moving sphere being thrown at them, hoping from there that their well-struck ball doesn’t simply find a glove. Pitchers need to fool or overpower hitters with perfectly placed pitches to make them swing and miss or to induce weak contact. It isn’t fucking easy! And sometimes, for a while, you’re a pretty alright team who just doesn’t get the breaks you need to convert your meagre success in this game of failure into victories.

That doesn’t mean I think the Jays are a perfect team, or am completely on the other side of the suffocating pessimism coin. It’s not out of the question that they could be in a tailspin, or showing their true colours after teasing us with May’s hot luck. They’re certainly not any more assured of making the playoffs right now than they are guaranteed to already be fucked. And that’s just it: it’s as ridiculous to believe one thing as it is the other. It’s ridiculous to blather nonsense about how things need to change if they’re going to stay in the race. Of course they do, but why wouldn’t they? We know what these players are capable of. We’ve seen that they’re a good team, no matter how much people want to piss in our faces with “a good team doesn’t do [this],” or “a good team can’t rely on a guy like [that].” For the love of fuck, maybe take a look around at all the best teams in the league and realize that you till see a lot of weaknesses and a lot of losses on their record.

Yes, results need to change, yes, they could use some upgrades, yes, the 3.4 runs per game over their last 22 games is pretty abysmal (though if you want to do the arbitrary endpoint thing, add eight more games and the average jumps to a very nice 4.2), but what seems to me has been happening with the Jays of late is a thing called baseball, and not a whole lot more.

They’d be better off with better players, we all agree, but they’re still a long way from falling out of the hunt, and there’s a reason for that: they’re really not a bad team — definitely not as good as May, but not as bad as it has looked lately either. Good enough? Time will tell, but if we’re looking to be frustrated, we really ought not to bind together our actual, legitimate concerns and the fact that they’re just not getting the results at moment — because that is tooooootally just a a thing that happens sometimes. Simmer down.

Comments (93)

  1. Baseball is really fucking hard. Shit happens. Good players play poorly for stretches and good teams lose.

    The torrent of nonsense spewed in the comments section over the weekend was insufferable.

    “And there go the wheels. Above our heads the roof is closing, symbolizing the end of the Jays season.”

    People need to get a fucking grip.

  2. It’s annoying that people want to whine on and on while refusing to look at context…ya they didn’t look great this weekend, but they faced 3 lefties in a row and add in the 2 key injuries, it was going to be a tough weekend to get through.

    They obviously had to patch some things together for a few games. They have as many outfielders as relief pitchers right now. Use your head, the roster will look much clearer on Tuesday with the 2 RH pitchers coming in for Milwaukee. If not tomorrow, there’s no way they go west with this roster.

    I also expect Thole to be optioned soon enough. Him being here is ridiculous, and I said the same thing when he was batting like .380.

    • you can’t handicap the bench so a mediocre pitcher can have a personal caddy.
      Navarro/and Kratz is a way better combo.
      I think they’re going to swing something with San Diego and pitch up an infielder and pitcher,
      they just fired their gm and are in full rebuild mode.

    • Disagree. Thole is essential to Dickey’s performance. If Dickey isn’t confident his catcher can receive his knuckleball it hampers his pitching. If they could’ve got Kratz or Navarro to catch Dickey, they would have.

      ps they tried Kratz in Spring training and he wasn’t good.

      • I know he’s better at it, but it’s not like a god given ability,
        and Thole was born with a special gift no one else possesses.
        he practiced and improved.
        Kratz could help a lineup against a lefty,
        i think there’s more pro’s than cons

        • Sounds reasonable but I still don’t think they’ll get rid of (or option) Thole. Especially mid-season when they had all winter and ST to get one of Navarro or Kratz ready. In fact. I watched for it And when they brought in Tomo Oka as a knuckler I thought for sure both Kratz and Navarro would train with him but it was not to be and Kratz couldn’t get it. They certainly aren’t willing to train either during the season so unless they trade Dickey, it won’t happen.

      • Where did it say Kratz wasn’t good at catching the knuckleball? I don’t remember reading that anywhere.

        If he’s adequate at it, then he should be catching Dickey for the next 2 months. Dickey can suck it up til September 1st. He’s a 40 year old man, not a child, I’m sure he can understand that it’s about the good of the team and not all about him. It’s not like he’s going to be signing some huge FA contract in a couple years.

        • Actually I don’t have to look it up because I saw the ST game. I checked his stats for ST and he had 3 passed balls. I can’t swear to them all being from the game he caught Dickey but I think so and I DO know there was more than 1 that day. In fact he didn’t catch Dickey after that so I would think that would be proof enough.
          What good would it do the team to hamper Dickey in that way if he’s no longer confident throwing his knuckleball? It’s all moot anyway. They won’t get rid of Thole as long as Dickey’s pitching.

    • our lefties can’t hit lefties

  3. Very well spoken Andrew. I don’t know if they’re unequivocally going to be buyers, but they are a better team than they’ve shown lately. Most, if not all teams, have a bad month. If you told me before the season began that the Jays would be in first place in July (which they will be), I would have told you to have your head examined.

    Yes, the Jays are playing like shit. They have for nearly four weeks now. But they are still in first place. They have a good team. Shit happens.

    Go Jays.

    • I’m a bit fatigued with people dissecting the season into sections.
      Series to series, week to week, month to month. Ultimately it’s what happens over 162 games. And this is why we watch the games every day.

  4. Gonna be a fun, but nervewracking, July/Augsut/September I think.

  5. Is someone out there not happy the Jays are alone in 1st place half-way through the season? I guess fans of the Giants and Orioles should be just as upset, after their teams just lost 4-game series. ALL EVERYONE RAGE

  6. Ya, this series still sucked though.

    Man I really thought we’d take three from the Chi Sox. Oh well, I had this West Coast Road trip as the week every year where the Jays go out West and I don’t really see the games but by the time they get back they’re an also ran.

    At the very least that seems impossible.

  7. One of the casualities of being a competitive team is a fanbase that includes the “Thomas calling Jaystalk” types.The Jays are a popular topic and everybody wants their opinion to be heard.And it can be, in the age of social media.regardless of how ill informed the fan is, he/she has direct access to the Wilners and the players.And that gets them heard by the masses of general fandom..

    Sometimes we need to consider the source and make our own decisions.

  8. my thoughts exactly. god post, Stoeten.

  9. But just as annoying is how one can’t voice reasonable criticisms or concerns without being subjected to the hyperbole in the post.

    It’s never as bad as it seems, or as good as it seems, the truth – like so many – lies somewhere in the middle. And wouldn’t it be boring if everyone always agreed on everything? Part of fandom IS being irrational and emotional. These aren’t math problems we’re solving here. It’d be nice if all reasonable opinions were valued, even though there may be strong disagreements.

    And there’s a lot of reasonable people (myself included) who thinks that the team as currently constructed (even if we ignore the injuries, which can happen to any team) is just not good enough to win the division. That is an entirely reasonable opinion, even if it’s certainly arguable, and may end up being incorrect.

    And I’m in favor of doing something sooner rather then later (if at all possible) instead of waiting for the trade deadline to fix it.

    • Even if we DO win the division, that says more about the ALE being a weak division this year then it does about Toronto. Not that that illegitimatizes it in any way, we got boned for 2 decades b/c of the division we were in, nothign wrong at all in taking advantage the one year when we can.

      But as sweet as it would be to just make the playoffs, if we’re going to go for it, we might as well go for it, and it’d be nice to have a strong enough team to be a legit contender for a WS.

    • There’s a clear reason why more trades (during the season) occur closer to the trade deadline. As the dealine approaches, GMs start to be a little more reasonable with valuing their players versus other players. This isn’t a videogame where you can just force a trade. Hell, even if Anthopoulous were to call up another GM right now and offer a seemingly fair deal, that GM would probably decline because for the moment he is looking to get more value than just a “fair deal”.

      We’re just going to have to be patient during this next month, while AA will be spending almost every waking hour trying to figure out a way to work out a trade.

      • Sure, and that’s part of the game. You can’t force someone to trade, so if they have to wait, they have to wait.

        One would hope that AA actually IS doing what you’re saying, making serious decisions about which pieces to trade for, so he’s ready when the time comes.

        I’m not as optimistic about many here though that that’s what’s happening. I am certainly not taking it as a given that he’s thinking that way. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if no major moves are made, with the reason given that “well, we’re in first place and we think this team is good enough to win the division”

        • Dude, you just need to take it easy. You say that you don’t want to be seen as an extremist, but you sound like you’re in that territory. Just step away from the ledge, drink some beer, get a massage, light some scented candles, etc.

          There’s still lots of time before the deadline. Trades typically don’t happen this early, so there’s no reason to get bent out of shape because there hasn’t been a trade yet. It’s comparable to a kid complaining in November that Christmas isn’t happening simply because his parents haven’t put up decorations yet. That kid has no statistical basis for that line of thinking, and neither do you. To even suggest that management doesn’t see the holes in the infield, rotation, and bullpen is nonsense.

          • lol what about that, in any sane interpretation, comes across as “extremism” that needs to “step away from the ledge”

            Either your reading comprehension skills are sorely lacking, or you are lacking in your own opinions and so must regurgitate Stoetens comments and passing them off as your own.

            • Everything you’ve been saying has been overly pessimistic. How is that not extremist? Practically everyone else here (including me) is on board with you that this team, in its current construction, is not suited for a deep playoff run. And, much like yourself, everyone agrees that we are one solid trade away from being able to make said playoff run. The difference is that you are highly critical of the Jays’ chances of pulling off such a trade, a claim for which you give no rational explanation.

              But whatever… If you want to keep up the continual pessimism, go ahead. I’m going to keep watching games and cheering on the Jays as a way to distract myself from summer school. If another month goes by and AA hasn’t made a trade, then I’ll join you on the critical side of things. Until then, I’m going to enjoy cheering on our Spirit Animal at 2B, even though my brain knows he isn’t everyday-second-baseman material.

    • Remember too, that our strength of schedule has us tied for 18th. Yanks had the 4th toughest schedule so far, and they’re only 2 games back. What happens when THEY get the easier schedule and WE get the tougher stretch?

      Not to say anything is for sure, but you can’t just look at the standings in a vacuum and say “well, we’re in first place, what’re you worried about?”

      • http://espn.go.com/mlb/team/schedule/_/name/tor/half/2/toronto-blue-jays

        Schedule doesn’t seem so bad in the second half. Lots of games against the teams in the division of course, which is usually scary but this year seems alot more welcoming because they’re all bad-mediocre. Also get teams like the Cubs, Astros, Rangers and White Sox (ya i know) in the second half. I just hope we get past this frightening Brewers-Athletics-Angels stretch relatively unscathed- schedule looks pretty decent after that.

    • Whether or not you think the team is good enough to win the division is not in of itself reasonable/unreasonable. What makes it reasonable or unreasonable is why you hold that belief. Do you hold it for good reasons? If not, then you are being unreasonable.

  10. ah, censored by a soft bitch

  11. You are banned from Bluebird Banter. You can read, but not participate.

    SUCCESS! What a bunch of circle-jerking wankers over there.

    • what’s wrong with them? some people like to enjoy a game without swearing and yelling at everybody.

      • jokes on them i CANT read.

        • lol i like their website, the posts are usually pretty great and I like the series previews. The comments section is a bit boring for my liking, but hey we’re all kind of assholes over here so i can’t blame people for choosing the PG alternative.

  12. I love the way wilner called thomas intellectually dishonest. “what if I told you the jays would be in first place on july 1, what would you have said?” It that happened, then I would have said that tampa, boston, and yankees were all having bad seasons, because the jays are still not that good to be dominating anyone. But no, wilner says they are a great team that’s why they’re in 1st place.

    And speaking of facts, being in 1st place and wilner loves to repeat, means nothing. If the jays were in any other division they wouldn’t be. They’d be 5 back in losses to detroit, 9 behind oakland, 4 behind the angels, so no the jays aren’t a good team.

    The 9 game win streak appears to be just a fluke not a sign of some juggernaut team. Last year after the 11 game win streak they played 40% ball. This year they are 13-17 or 43% and they are 7/22 or 32%

    Minus the 9 game win streak they are 36-39. So for 90% of the season they are playing below .500 ball

    What stoeten doesn’t seem to understand is the jays play just well enough to lose. Sloppy defense, poor baserunning, not hitting with risp, mediocre pitching, relievers who cough up leads, weak bench all lead to what’s happening now.

    • Seems like this is cherry-picking stats a bit. Throw out any team’s best stretches, and they look a lot worse. The starting rotation, by the way, put up a 3.93 ERA in June, only slightly worse than the 3.74 in May. We got unlucky with our run distribution, and the offense slumped, neither of which is likely to continue for much longer.

      • 3.93 era puts them 9th. that is not good. it’s an average team playing average baseball

        • A matter of interpretation. 9th puts them in the top-third of all teams!

          • that’s 9th in AL

            • Oh. Oops.
              Still, that it was not that different from the May ERA shows, I think, that with a little more luck on run distribution and just a few more runs scored here and there, our June could easily have looked much different.

          • Not to mention the fact, that you can’t really take the Jays’ current record and say “They’d be 5 back in losses to detroit, 9 behind oakland, 4 behind the angels.”

            Detroit gets 54 games against Cleveland, Chicago and Minnesota.
            Oakland and L.A. get 36 games each against Texas and Houston.

            Not exactly comparable. Even if the Yankees are aging, Tampa’s hurt and Baltimore is Baltimoring.

        • Except that it is a team built around its offense, so I am pretty sure that they would take middle of the pack pitching. When the offense slumps the team is going to lose. When it heats back up they will win. Not surprising.

    • “and speaking of facts….”
      Ummmmm…. care to explain how being in first place means nothing? Actually, it means precisely everything. Teams in shitty divisions that are in first place with shitty records? They make the fucking playoffs. Teams in great divisions with great records that aren’t in first place? They don’t make the playoffs.
      All that matters is first place. Your record getting there is the thing that is meaningless. Might some fat guy with a goatee in a Lazyboy then argue that you aren’t amongst the all-time greats? Sure. But guess what? I’ll be at a fucking playoff game while he’s talking.

  13. The Jays will be in FIRST PLACE on Canada Day! Even after playing inconsistently for most of the month!
    I’m still very excited about this team.

  14. Yeah, I dont get what wilner was doing last night. FIrst he asks the question, and then he goes off on anyone that thought they had a chance at being in first.

    had they answered in the negative, he would have called them negative suck holes.

    He literally devised his own Kobayashi Maru

    • Even with people he agrees with, the tone seems adversarial. And not in a fun loving, bantering kind of way, but in a douchebag, “I’m smarter then you ipso facto, if you disagree with me, you’re an idiot. hell, even if you agree with me, you’re probably still an idiot” kind of way.

      • Wilner’s a lot better than he used to be.A lot.
        He was also trolled all day by an individual on twitter.
        Why he feels the need to respond ,is beyond me.

      • In fairness, how many days (or years) in a row could you handle interacting with most fans without getting seriously jaded?

  15. Baseball is a 162 game season . Every good team has a great month and a couple off months. The best teams don’t play 600 ball every month. The Jays do need help if they want to win it all no doubt.
    A 2nd or 3rd baseman that can play everyday would be my pick of biggest need
    A reliever would be second
    But if I could make one trade it be to get Andrus and move Reyes to second

    • “The best teams don’t play 600 ball every month.”

      Tell that to the A’s

      April .667

      May .571

      June .680

      ….and for good measure their Pythagorean W-L has them 3 games better at 54-27

      • 571 is not 600 so your point is??? And seasons not over the A’s worst month will not end up being a 571

        • My point is that the A’s are having an incredible year so far.

          .571 is pretty darn close to .600!

          • But, “The best teams don’t play .600 ball every month.” was the claim. You took exception, and then provided evidence.

            weird.

            • I think that the .571 being sandwiched by a winning percentage of .667 and .680 gives it a pass.

              Technically inaccurate? Sure. But the spirit of both the claim and response is there.

              What the A’s are doing so far is special, and it demonstrates (at least for the first 3 months of a season) that the best teams can continue to roll.

            • The A’s should have some pitching issues soon.

              Jesse Chavez has only pitched over 100 innings twice in his career (123 in 2004 and 105 in 2012). Both of those times were in the minors.

              He currents sits at 98 IP.

              I imagine somebody may be due to catch a case of the Villaneuvas.

              • Not to mention all-star and Cy Young candidate Brad Mills in their rotation

              • Wilner said the something similar about the Rays several years back, and the O’s a couple years back….. who knows?

                Unless your betting money, I really don’t understand this emphasis (generally speaking) on predictions. Games are played for a reason, and anyone can win on any day in baseball. Which is one of the reasons I think it’s so great.

                Just watch the games and find out baseball fans.

              • + Billions Ted

  16. remember cleveland 2012? 37-22 then finished 68-94

    • remember toronto 1989? 12-24 then finished 89-73

      Doesn’t mean a hill of beans as 2014 is a different year and the competing teams are different, etc.

  17. All I know is baseball is a lot more fun when you are WINNING.

  18. Fuck Stoten, stop catering to the doomsayers, and just ignore them already. Don’t waste your energy and talent being an apologist.

    I come here to read your excellent writing about baseball. When you answer the negativity, with your own negativity (slamming these that say the team suck), it only becomes one big shit storm then.

  19. All I asked of this team this year is that they suck less than 2013. So far they’ve done so.

  20. Does anybody else think Bobby Korecky should be given more of look in the bullpen? I know its AAA but he’s completely killing it in buffalo

    • So did Pillar. So did Gose (sort of ). So did Glenn. Even Wang was good in AAA. The chasm between AAA and MLB is huge. I saw Korecky and his 82MPH fastball pitch against Minny two weeks ago. Kendrys Morales and the boys hought it was a great pitch. Talk about teeing it up. Forget him, he’s a career minor leaguer for a reason, and he’s like a 104 years old

  21. Andrew Stoeten’s article writing is similar to Kramer beating up all those kids in his karate class. That’s why I enjoy reading the comments when the very negative people get enough numbers together to smother the tone of the conversation and–hopefully–force Stoeten to reconsider his entire article as useless.

    What I am saying, I guess, is that I wish the one place on the internet, television, or radio that provides somewhat valid insight on the Blue Jays would engage the valid concerns of thoughtful fans instead of smacking around the ridiculous opinions of 12-year olds (who are only going to gang-up on him in the alley anyway) no reasonable adult could ever have.

  22. I don’t think the Jays are fucked but losing 3 out of 4 games to a slumping team sucks especially when two of those losses were exceptional starts from Stroman and Buehrle. The pen shit the bed and the offense was shut down. But essentially, EE got pitched around like the plague because no one was there to insulate him. Glenn has shown nothing of value. Not having Bautista for three starts vs. lefties really sucked. But,, theyre still in first.

  23. Was anyone else annoyed with Gibbons’ decision to give Cabreara the day off yesterday? WIth Bautista, and to a lesser extent, Lawrie, out of the line up, wouldn’t simple logic persuade one to keep the team’s .300+ switch-hitter in the line up? The move made no sense, especially with the off day on Monday. Are the fans the only ones with a sense of urgency? I really don’t get it.

    Equally disturbing was Gibbons’ strategy in the 9th inning on Saturday. Good speed on first with zero out and Gibbons gives Reyes the green-light to hack away instead of advancing the runner with a sac bunt. One has to play for the tie in that scenario irrespective of who’s at the plate. Moreover, Reyes’ speed doesn’t make him an easy out when he lays down the bunt. Get the runner in scoring position, and give your best two hitters an opportunity to drive him in (it’s not rocket science).

    That said, I remain bullish on the Jays’ prospects going forward; however, this teams inexperience combined with a green GM and coaching staff makes me a bit uncomfortable.

    • You know Anthopoulos has been a GM for almost five freakin’ years, right?

      • I am aware of that. Tell me something, how many playoff games have his teams played in? Has he ever been the GM of a first place team in July/Aug/Sept? Have his teams ever played meaningful baseball in September? Has he ever been responsible for pulling off a meaningful trade mid-season trade?

        I am an AA fan but simply working the job doesn’t imply experience making key decisions. He has never been involved in a legitimate pennant race thus I have my reservations about this team’s management.

    • Agree with you +1. Resting him yesterday when he was one of our last standing decent hitters against LHP was just plain stupid. To voluntarily replace him with either Glenn or Darin M was tomfoolery at it’s finest. Listen I was at SAT’s game when he took Stroman out of the game while pitching a 2 hit SO at 95 pitches. I never liked Gibbons and these dumbass decisions just confirm it, at least for me. Others can think differently of him-it’s a free country after all but these are perplexing moves. Yeah , we may have lost anyway, but for FFS let’s give it a honest shot

      • FRRR GBBNZ!!!!

      • He’s had team off days (May 19, Jun 2,16) but the team said Melky had been in the lineup everyday since May1. Having said that JB will be back on Tues and that would’ve given him 2 consecutive days off. Makes no damn sense: particularly when they had a chance to split the series.

  24. I could live with trading a package built around Aaron Sanchez in exchange for Chase Headley and Ian Kennedy, if the Padres would be inclined to do such a deal. Thinking about a potential lineup of Reyes, Cabrera, Bautista, Encarnacion, Lind, Headley, Lawrie, Rasmus and Navarro is fun.

  25. Stoelton = ‘Jays aren’t fucked because my spreadsheet says they aren’t fucked’

  26. We’d likely have taken 3 out of 4 from the W Sox but for Gibbons’ bumbling. See mk’s post above. The guy wouldnt know how to manufacture a run if his life depended on it. Bunt steal hit and run sac fly fielder’s choice. So many possibilities with runner at first with speed and no outs. Unless you’re Gibbons.

    • Gibbons bumbling? How about no offense?

    • If a bunt, steal, or hit and run don’t work and all you get is another out and a runner still at first base then what? You’re taking a chance either way, so in most situations I’d rather take a chance on having a big inning – let the hitters hit – rather than do the small ball stuff.

  27. “the torrent of insufferable whiny doomsaying that constantly threatens to overrun the conversation surrounding this team seems more than even usual to be ready to breach the floodgates and leave us all awash in sewage”

    Andrew, never stop. Ever. This is golden material right here.

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