Sunday, 2 March 2008

Wither Gibby?

Over at The Tao of Stieb, they make note of having heard Blair comment on Fan 590 that, in his opinion, Gibbons won't make it past mid-May. His reasoning for that is that the only way Gibbons can survive is if the Jays are successful right out of the box, paraphrasing "one or two games under .500 isn't going to cut it."

Well, before Gibbons haters rejoice and Gibby starts updating the resume, let me cast a dissenting vote. No, I'm not in disagreement with the premise that a .500ish team puts his job in danger, rather, I'm gonna go on record and say the Jays will bust out like gangbusters and be sporting one of the best records in baseball by the time we see our first National League opponent.

Consider the schedule.

The Jays open with six games against the Yanks and Red Sox (whom the virtually always play their best ball against) - three in NY and three at home. Consider the pitching matchups:

Halladay v. Wang
Burnett v. Petitte (the Jays own lefties as we all know)
Marcum v. Mussina (I'm assuming Dusty for the home opened but if he's here so much the worse for the Yanks)

McGowan v. Wakefield (BwaHAHA!)
Halladay v.Lester (another lefty)
Janssen v. Beckett

Four wins there? five?

Then after an off day, sixteen of the next twenty are against non-contenders. True, teams like Tampa Bay and Kansas City are not exactly pansies this year but still, let me run down some tentative pitching projections to give you an idea of why I'm optimistic:

Burnett v. Blanton
McGowan v. Gaudin
Halladay v. Dinardo
Marcum v. Padilla
Janssen v. ?Gabbard?
Burnett v. Jennings
McGowan v. Trachsel
Halladay v. Olsen
Marcum v. Padilla
Janssen v. Gabbard
Burnett v. Rogers
McGowan v. Bonderman
Halladay v. Willis
Marcum v. Robertson
Janssen v. Kazmir
Burnett v. Sheilds
McGowan v. Garza
Halladay v. Tomko
Marcum v. ?Hudson?
Janssen v. Meche

Lefties in italics. Notice almost half of those 20 games are vs. LHP, also notice that about a third of them are against pretty awful pitchers. If the Jays rotation pitches up to their abilities, and the hitting is anything other than ice cold, they could easily win 3/4 of those games. I would not be shocked at all if the Jays have 20 wins under there belts by the time they visit Boston in late April. I won't go so far as to make a concrete prediction on that, but I think it's FAR more likely than the struggle to stay around .500 that we have become accustomed to.

I know that the cliche is that Spring is the season of optimism (maybe someone should tell Jeff Blair) and perhaps I am guilty of an over-indulgence, but I simply don't see this team having any truck with the .500 mark this season. I enjoy Blair's work in general, and agree that IF they Jays so struggled as he suggests, Gibbons can't survive that - rightly so - but I simply don't agree that such struggles are on the horizon.


1 comment:

Lloyd "the barber" Moseby said...

wakefield indoors is no picnic