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April in Review - Waiting for the Great Leap Forward

April Record: 13-12
Runs For: 129
Runs Against: 106
Pythagorean Record: 15-10
In the Pythagorean World, the Jays trail the BoSox by only 1 1/2 games.

Team Stats
AVG: .277 (1st in AL)
OBP: .347 (T-2nd in AL)
SLG: .450 (1st in AL)

ERA: 3.90 (4th in AL)
BB: 77 (6th in AL) BB/9: 3.09
K: 154 (8th in AL) K/9: 6.02
K/BB: 2.01 (8th in AL)

Heartbreakers & Heartwarmers : The Jays have lost 5 games when leading going into the 8th inning. They have won no such games.

Infield
Lyle Overbay is off to a slow start (.713 OPS), but he should be fine. He appears (to me) to be more comfortable in the middle of the lineup than at the top.
Aaron Hill (.918 OPS) has been fantastic for the most part. The only thing to strive for now is a bit more consistency, both at the plate and in the field (4 ER).
Royce Clayton has been decent in the field, I guess. He isn't (.708 OPS) quite killing them at the plate...yet.
I hope the heel doesn't continue to bother Troy Glaus (.344/.512/.656) too much. If he misses anymore time, Jason Smith's strike zone judgment is brutal (17 Ks, 2 BB in 41 AB, .278 OBP) , and somehow I don't think John McDonald can keep up a .600 SLG.
As for Greg Zaun , come back soon, Z-Man. Captain Goggles and Sal Man Chu look like an early Japanimation duo.

Designated Hitter
DH Frank Thomas started slow as well (.250/.369/.424), but if a bad month=.370 OBP, sign me up for 5 more months.

Outfield
Alexis Rios doesn't really seem suited for the leadoff spot, but he is starting to walk a bit more. He needs to do more in that department though. (.307 OBP) He is driving the ball rather than slapping it (5 HR), which bodes well for a 25-HR season.
Vernon Wells started slow, but heated up real fast (.298/.368/.543). Can take charge of a game, and steady as she goes in the OF. Just don't put a frickin' "C" on the man's jersey and we'll be fine.
I feel pretty bad for Reed Johnson (.736 OPS in 34 AB). He finally earned a full-time job with his best performance ever last season, and his wonky back catches up to him. Maybe the billy goatee is putting undue strain on the lumbar?
Adam Lind Sure looks like a major-league hitter to me (.288/.367/.519). Some adjustments need to be made, especially the high fastball, but I can't find a hole in his swing or much cause for concern. Better in the OF than advertised so far, and love his plate discipline.
As for Matt Stairs (.761 OPS), keep this man out of the OF. It'd be nice to get someone else who can play the OF, so he can be used fully as a PH. More steals than RBI. No, not kidding.

Starting Rotation:
Is there anyone more dependable than Doc Halladay ? Even his interviews are dominating. He's my huckleberry (4-0, 33/7 K/BB, 2.28 ERA, 0.89 WHIp.)
AJ Burnett needs to stop overthrowing! (19/17 K/BB) This isn't the pitching cage speed contest at the Arkansas State Fair! Keep it under control, and consistency will follow. Still, that curve makes my head spin. Ever bat against a curve like that? Trust me, you're still thinking about it 3 AB's later...
Gustavo Chacin wasn't great (5.60 ERA), but I hope he makes it back soon. Nice to have a lefty, and his track record is decent enough.
Tomo Ohka (2-2, 5.02 ERA) has been okay by me. Not great, and really just a crafty righty type, but love his mound presence, and I think he'll keep them in the game more often than not. If not, he won't be around much longer anyway.
Josh Towers (21/4 K/BB, 1.35 WHIp)improved his K/9 for the 4th straight year, AND got his walks back to his pre-2006 levels, but still wasn't enough for the front office, who sent him down in favor of Victor Zambrano , who I'm not a big fan of (Kazmir issues aside). Zambrano just walks too many to be successful (6 BB in 6 IP so far), and it is not like he throws 95 anyway (4 Ks). Next.

Bullpen:
With BJ Ryan out for most of the year, closing duties have fallen to Jason Frasor . Frasor (12/4 K/BB, 0.91 WHIp, 2 saves, 4.09 ERA) has done a decent job, and will be fine in the role, I think, but he doesn't really profile as a closer. Not having Brandon League really hurts too, and I am starting to suspect that we won't see him until 2008. Ugh. A couple of young guns, Casey Janssen and Shaun Marcum stepped into setup roles. Janssen has the ERA (1.32) and Marcum has the peripherals (17/5 K/BB), so it will be interesting to see what happens next. Marcum needs to stop hanging his breaking stuff and giving up the long ball (4 HR in 12 IP just won't cut it, but it also won't continue), and Janssen will need to strikeout more, but both are good pitchers. Jeremy Accardo doesn't have the best control on the squad, but he looks decent to me. His splitter is effective against lefties so he could be an 8th inning guy too, but he has to watch his walks (8/5 K/BB) Both Accardo and Scott Downs (10/4 K/BB) have yet to be charged with a run. Brian Tallet (2/2 K/BB in 2 1/3 IP) is not very good, but if he can just get lefties out, he will free Downs up to be a mch needed setup man.

Onward and upward, lads!