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August, Die She Must: Month in Review

Wins: 15 / Losses: 13
Opponents Faced: Tampa Bay (1), Texas (3), NYY (3), Kansas City (4), Baltimore (3), LAAofA (7), Oakland (7), Seattle (1)

At the Plate
Avg/OBP/SLG: .256/.323/.409
w/RISP: .268/.340/.422
2 outs, RISP: .221/.316/.352

As you can see, the offense for August was not a pretty picture. It edged out May, making it only the 2nd-worst month, but the team's offensive production was well below average for the league (90 OPS+). The Jays continued to both have trouble getting on-base and hitting for power, and a .295 BABIP for August compared to the .245 BABIP in May suggests that simple luck is not to blame. The Jays did steal 17 bases in August (3 CS), which was nice after only 3 in july.

Zaun (.647 OPS for the month), Hill (.636 including a horrid .254 OBP), Mac (.545 after a July of .551), and Reed (.571) were primarily responsible for the offensive drought. These fellows bat mostly at the bottom of the order, except for Gibbons' unfortunate habit of batting Sparky and his Claytonesque .306 OBP in the leadoff spot or 2nd every time, even against righties, against whom Reed has been particularly inept (.216/.245/.268).

None of Overbay (.697), Glaus (.726), or Wells (.705), 3 key hitters for the team, have helped matters, although Glaus and Overbay seem to have turned it around late in the month. Lyle drew a fairly respectable amount of walks (11), so blame for his poor OBP for the month (.314) would seem to lie with his .279 BABIP, which is not what one would expect from a line-drive hitter. Wells continued to hack away (only 7 walks and a .300 OBP) but also suffered a severe power outage, slugging only .405. He too had a somewhat low BABIP (.280). Glaus was respectable at getting on base (.343 despite a .210 AVG), but had little power (3 HR and a .383 SLG).

Rios (.901) Thomas (.959), Stairs (1.375 in only 45 AB) were the only above-average Jays performers offensively, and Stairs' contribution was limited by the fact that he was only a part-timer for the month (getting less than 1/2 as many ABs as Reed). Thomas has turned it on, with a .571 SLG and 5 HRs for the month.

On the Mound
3.24 ERA, 252 2/3 IP, 171 K / 73 BB, .271 BABIP

The pitching overall continued to be fantastic, with a team OPS+ against of 74 for the month. A 6.09 K/9 isn't too high, but a 2.60 BB/9 was just lovely. The .271 BABIP suggests that luck played a bit of a part, but this team has kept BABIP at or below .300 all season, so it can't only be luck. The pitchers also held the running game a little better, allowing 23 steals and catching 7 fellows, an acceptable rate of apprehension. This after allowing teams to run rampant through the first 4 months, which really hurt the team (91 SB/13 CS or 88%). I wonder if Thigpen's presence has been a factor.

Individually, Doc Halladay had a very fine month (3.38 ERA, 33 K/13 BB), and deserved more than the 3 wins he got. A.J. Burnett made his return and was even more effective (1.63, 23/14). Marcum continued to be quite good (4.01, 23/8, 4 HR against) despite a relatively high BABIP against (.314), which is very encouraging. McGowan had a hard-luck month, going only 1-3 despite excellent numbers (3.62, 30/9, 8.36 K/9). Litsch also drew a short straw, going 1-2 despite a sparkling 3.30 ERA and his best month, peripherally speaking (15/9). His abnormally low BABIP (.253) for the month suggests that he may need more run support to win in the future, but he was even better in July despite a .311 BABIP. Pretty impressive that all 5 starters had very good to great months, pretty sad that the best we could do was 15-13.

The bullpen continued to make matters tough for opposing hitters, with Accardo (.542 OPS against despite only 6 Ks in 11 2/3 innings), Janssen (2.19 ERA for the month despite a .324 BABIP), Downs (.575 OPS against, 3.12 ERA), Frasor (.561 OPS against, 13 Ks in only 10 1/3 IP), and Wolfe (0.54 ERA, unbelievable .299 OPS against (although caveated with equally unbelievable .111 BABIP)). Wolfe actually worked the most of any of the relief corps in August, and his -22 OPS+ against for the month lets you know that worked out. Only Tallet faltered (5.68 ERA in only 6 1/3 IP) and it wasn't completely his fault, as he did keep opponents to a respectable .710 OPS against). The only worrying thing about the pen was generally lower K numbers (possibly reflecting fatigue, since it didn't affect Frasor or Wolfe), and some trouble late in the month for Accardo, mostly related to command of his splitter, a critical pitch for him. Brandon League figures to return to the team in the first few days of September, giving the bullpen an additional boost.

Overall Performance : The Jays scored 117 Runs but surrendered 105. With such poor offensive numbers, it's hard to say that the team was really unlucky, but the pitching sure was. Let's support them better in September! Our 72-63 pythagorean record looks a lot better than our 69-66 actual record.