Welp. At least they didn’t waste another solid pitching performance.
This is a frustrating team to watch right now, there is no doubt about it, and the reason why is quite simple: the Jays are not hitting enough.
It’s been bad. But that doesn’t mean that some true identity of this team has been revealed over the last miserable few weeks, though I know that a lot of negative types are being overrun by their emotions and allowing themselves to think such ridiculous things — which, of course, leads to more and more absurd ideas as fans fall deeper and deeper into blind, unchecked negativity: getting concerned about Jose Reyes laughing, overstating the importance of an undeniably atrocious throw home from Colby Rasmus, working it out in their mind to somehow find a way to blame John Gibbons for all this.
The reality is, over the last 30 days the club has been functioning with one truly dangerous hitter, who is now on the DL — Edwin Encarnacion (156 wRC+ in that span). Adam Lind and Jose Bautista have both been playing hurt, and it shows (110 and 106 respectively), and Melky Cabrera has been about what you’d expect (102, powered by a .284/.342/.394 line). Kawasaki, too, at 91 wRC+ with a .348 on-base.
Literally everybody else has been below league average at the plate.
Jose Reyes, now struggling in the field as well, and understandably drawing the ire of the fans, has hit to an 84 wRC+ over that span. Colby Rasmus is at 87. Dioner Navarro, 73. Steve Tolleson, 68. Juan Francisco, 55.
It’s been ugly, but the thing is — the perspective that we really ought to maintain, hard as it may be at the moment — is that’s not who Jose Reyes is. That’s not who a healthy Jose Bautista is. That’s not who a healthy Adam Lind is (at least not against right-handed pitching).
That may not be who Colby Rasmus is (though we’ve certainly seen him be that as well, unfortunately), but on the other hand, given their track records and the favourable platoon matchups they were seeing before injuries started taking their toll elsewhere, I think Francisco and Tolleson can be better than that, too. Probably.
It’s an awful collective slump with the bats, compounded by injuries that are keeping Lawrie and Encarnacion out and exposing the flaws in guys who shouldn’t be asked to see as much big league pitching as they have of late. But as a group, we know they can be better. Even without Encarnacion and Lind, it’s not difficult to imagine them being better.
Of course, the fact that they can be much better doesn’t mean that they will. And if what the track record shows are their real selves do show up, it doesn’t mean that will happen in time for them to stem the tide and stop this tailspin from destroying such a promising season. What’s happening now is what it is. Which also means that it’s not something magical, beyond what we can see, in the hearts of the players or those coaching, managing, or running the organization, in the sporting spirit of this city, or whatever other bullshit gets invented to try to flesh out these fairly simple facts into big narratives that speak to what must be done.
The All-Star break should help. Adding a bat via the trade market should help. Eventually getting Lawrie and Encarnacion back should help. Again, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will help — at least not enough to turn this around and, from a still-solid position in the standings, launch an attack on the second half that gets the club right back to where we expected them to be when we saw through May and early June what they’re capable of at their best — but you absolutely cannot say that it can’t.
If that seems like a message that’s rather tepid in its positivity, well… that’s because it is. Woof. Fuck you, west coast!
Shit, it’s even got ol’ Gibbers down:
When asked if he sees light at the end of the tunnel right now, John Gibbons’ reply: “No” #bluejays
— Barry Davis (@SNBarryDavis) July 8, 2014