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Blue Jays week one: optimist, pessimist, realist

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It’s been six games, is it time for alarm?

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MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been six games so far this season. The Jays own a 1-5 record, have yet to play a game at home and have looked at times as if they’re almost allergic to scoring runs.

Like anything in life though, there are different ways to view this Toronto Blue Jays team. You can see the glass half full, half empty or you can just see the glass — you’re choice.

The Optimist:

This one is pretty easy. All you have to do is open your smart phone or whatever other time telling device you use and look at the date. It’s nearly cliche to say it, but this baseball season thing is a long haul. Pennants aren’t won in April so there’s really no sense getting worked up over a bad start.

Jose Bautista has struggled to start the season hitting .136/.286/.182 and while there’s likely some regression on the horizon for Toronto’s last beloved slugger, it’s isn’t the type of regression you see to fall off a cliff. Simply put, Jose is better than this.

One positive, comforting, sign has been the return of a fairly dominant starting rotation through week one. Few other teams have contributed as much as the Toronto Blue Jays in week one with their starting pitching and that shouldn’t really change. This group of pitchers is largely what the Jays received last year and with an remodeled Marcus Stroman and a Francisco Liriano who will look to rebound off a horrible start to the season, this rotation should feature a sweet and savoury flavour for months to come.

Just wait until the Jays return to Canada. Then the season begins— it’s fine, I swear.

The Pessimist:

This one is pretty easy. The sky is falling, the American League East is better this year and while Pennants may not be won in April, they sure can be lost.

It starts with the struggling offence too. Collectively the Jays hit a combined .202/.280/.298 in week one and had a BABIP of .245—below league average sure, but not exactly a ludicrously low number that would automatically suggest better results are on the horizon. Within this collection of misery, you have Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin who have not be able to carry the mantle of the 5-6 spots in the order well, or be part of the production by committee mission of replacing Edwin Encarnacion.

Adding onto this, Roberto Osuna hasn’t pitched yet and his velocity drop in spring training isn’t exactly comforting given some of the struggles he had last year with staying on the mound. As Arden Zwelling and Ben Nicholson Smith eluded to in their recent At the Letters Podcast, it may be time to give in to the realization that Osuna is human. He is fallible and changes may be in order to his preparation and pre-game rituals if he’s going to be able to be relied upon as the Jays’ everyday closer throughout the rest of the season.

Without him there everyday, this bullpen is fragile to say the least. Joe Biagini continues to defy logic and conventionality (off the field) but outside of him, Jason Grilli is hurling on borrowed time, and few other relievers inspire confidence with big names or even established track records.

Oh, and did I forget to mention the Jays’ best hitter Josh Donaldson was just injured?Yeah, that hurts. Literally.

The Realist:

A combination of the good and the bad, this is what it is. Sure it’s barely April 10th, there’s still snow on the ground in many parts of Canada and yes, the Jays haven’t even played a home game yet. That’s not to say going 1-5 to open the season is welcomed, accepted or should even be tolerated. It’s not, and it’s nothing many Jays fans will be smiling about.

But there have been flashes of the good things so far this season. They did have Zach Britton—MLB’s most dominant closer last season—on the ropes twice last week and nearly etched a blown save into the record books which is nearly unthinkable. Their Pythagorean record of 2-4 suggests they have been the receivers of some bad luck and that week one is probably more of a sluggish start than the start of a tire fire.

As I’m sure you probably already know, things are going to be just fine. Sure, these games matter and come September, we might even be saying, “if we had just won a few more games in early April...,” but in the grand scheme of things, this isn’t the worst record to start off the season and it isn’t the end either.

There’s still 156 more of these things.