Monday, 2 June 2008

Reflections on May

Rare is it that I agree with the normally retarded musing of Toronto Star baseball columnist Richard Griffin, but he actually hits the nail on the head with one today in which he absolves the hitherto outstanding bullpen for the two losses in Anaheim. Through Saturday, the bully had gone 22 consecutive scoreless innings before Jason Frasor surrendered that game-winning single to Juan Rivera. That achievement is worth noting, but was bound to come to an end sooner or later.

Through 28 games in March-April (well, really only April because of the rainout on Opening Day in New York), the Jays went 11-17, scoring 4.14 runs per game and allowing 4 for a differential of 0.14. That they lost considerably more than they won with a postive run differential points to plain old bad luck, but on the same token you shouldn't really expect to be much better than .500 with those numbers, either (unless you're a mystical fairy team like the Minnesota Twins).

Collectively, the Jays hit a bit better last month (.272/.337/.394) over April (.250/.338/.360) thanks to a .34 point jump in BABiP, but they still ended up scoring fewer runs somehow. More bad luck? It's hard to say the baseball gods are against you during a month in which you won 66% of your games. The Jays compensated for their relative lack of scoring with what was probably one of the best-pitched months in club history, a claim I'm just going to leave out there without bothering to spend dozens of minutes looking up.

In May, the Jays went 20-10 and the numbers were 3.97 runs per game for and an impressively low 3.13 against for a differential of 0.84. That's big enough to win you quite a few games and win the Jays did.

Which brings us back to Griffin, kicking the truth to the young black youth:

The truth is that the efficiency of the Jays' pitching in May covered a multitude of offensive shortcomings that need to be corrected. The ballclub can no longer just be happy about scoring enough runs to take a late-inning lead, then hand it over to the relievers, as has been the modus operandi.

That was the May way. In short, you can't blame Tallet for Saturday's loss, or Ryan for yesterday. The fault, dear friends, still lies in the bat rack.

Damn, I don't think he's ever been righter. I'm stone sober and I do know who I'm talking about here.

If the Jays' bats continue on with the familiar sub-mediocrity they've demonstrated through the first two months and our pitching regresses to a more mortal level, June could just as easily become another April. I really don't see that happening because of the soft opposition that's coming our way this month once we get done with the Yankees. And I do think it's quite probable that some of our colder hitter (Hill and Rios especially) really do crank it up a notch. You never really know how all this stuff is going to play out. But still, Griffin is on to something.

This team NEEDS to start scoring more runs and right quick regardless of what happened in May. I can accept that it's too early to make a trade for an impact bat just yet and hope that we can sneak through June with the offensive "talent" we presently have, but a Jason Bay or Adam Dunn just can't get here soon enough.

-- Johnny Was

1 comment:

eyebleaf said...

i read that column and agreed as well. it's tough to disagree, the bats have let this team down all season, regardless of the great month of may. and you're absolutely right, it needs to change, otherwise we're going to stay around the .500 mark.

the pitching has been phenomenal, but i'm pretty sure it'll hit a bump in the road here and there...and the offence will have to pick up the pitchers for once...

will be in interesting next few months...and i'm looking forward to Doc taking young Joba to school tomorrow night. fuck joba.