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The Blue Jays in April: I've never been so happy to see a month end

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MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays
We seem to have a lot of pictures of Jays laying on the ground.
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

I was looking back at posts we’ve put up on May 1st in the past and I came upon this one: “The Blue Jays in April: I've never been so happy to see a month end”, from back in 2013. The Jays ended April 10-17. Little did I know. That post was just a bunch of random notes on what went right and what went wrong. What if we do that again?

This year we end April 8-17, so we’ve be a full game in back of the 2013 team.

There has been good moments. Jose Bautista’s game winning home run against the Angels. Kendrys Morales’ grand slam. The Coghlan leap (buy the t-shirt). Ryan Tepera going 3 shut out innings (twice) when we really needed it). There have been some great defensive plays by Ryan Goins, Kevin Pillar and Darwin Barney. s

What went well:

  • Marcus Stroman (Happy Birthday) and Marco Estrada were terrific. 2.97 and 2.80 ERAs respectively. Stroman had 2 complete games, 2 more than our starting pitching had all of last season.
  • Francisco Liriano minus his first start of the season, has been almost as good, though he hasn’t pitched as deep into games. Gibby’s has had a pretty quick hook with him, which is likely a good idea.
  • The Joes have been great, coming out of the bullpen. Joe Biagini has a 2.12 and even though he’s had a couple of blown saves, he’s had a great month. He’s gone more than an inning in 6 of his 13 appearances, but never more than 2 innings. I’d like to see him pitch 3 or more innings at a go, if needed. Joe Smith has a 2.92 ERA, Gibby has held him to a 1 inning, or less, pitcher (though he went 1.2 in our first game).
  • Offensively? Kevin Pillar has been hitting the ball hard. .301/.339/.505 with 7 doubles, 1 triple and 4 homers (tied for the team lead). He even took 4 walks over the last two weeks. Batting leadoff, he’s hitting .329/.373/.614. On the down side, he is 2 for 5 in base stealing, which is a success rate that suggests he shouldn’t be stealing. He’s had hot streaks before, so I’m not going to say this is a real change, but we can hope.
  • Justin Smoak has had a hot strike of his own. He’s hitting .273/.305/.506 with 4 home runs. If the rest of the team was hitting....his numbers wouldn’t look so great, but, since he’s one of the few hitting at all...it stands out. He’s been hot before, last May he hit .309/.375/.521, so again, I’m not thinking that this is sudden change in abilities.
  • If you ignore the first week of the season, when he looking for his first hit, Russell Martin has so good with the bat. Over the past two weeks he’s hit .333/.450/.636 with 3 home runs. I hope this hot streaks continues.


The Bad

(you might want to get a stiff drink)

  • Injuries. Many. Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez and J.P. Howell are or have been on the DL. Add in Dalton Pompey (I guess he is swinging a bat again, I’m hoping he’ll be playing soon) who could have been handy, he’s the type who could give the team a boost. Glenn Sparkman and Bo Schultz.
  • Steve Pearce is batting .167/.211/.167. He’s made me happy about seeing Ezequiel Carrera’s name in the lineup. I’m ready to release him and call up Dwight Smith. If Smith wasn’t a left-handed batter, or if Pompey wasn’t hurt, I think the team would have done it by now. Gibby seems to have given up on him.
  • Devon Travis is hitting .130/.193/.195 and it isn’t getting better. He hit .143 in the past week. This is a guy who hit .304 and .300 over his first two major league seasons. I don’t know what they should do with him. I’m almost to where I think he could be optioned to the minors.
  • Roberto Osuna (3 blown saves) and Jason Grilli (2 losses and a blown save). Osuna has looked good in his last two appearances. Grilli.....I don’t know. 8 hits, 3 home runs and 6 walks in 8.2 innings.
  • Jose Bautista is hitting .178/.309/.244. His defense has looked good and he has turned it on in the last week, .350/.440/.400, but that doesn’t make up for his month.
  • Kendrys Morales is hitting .227/.286/.381 with 4 home runs. and a team leading 14 RBI. Our team has been so bad, his bat has seemed ok. His defense, in a few games at first base, has looked pretty good.
  • J.P. Howell 16.20 ERA, 1.2 innings in 5 appearances. 3 walks, 3 hits (1 home run).
  • Aaron Loup has a 1.04....but 7 walk in 8.2 innings. He hasn’t given up an extra base hit, and J.P. Howell has been terrible (and hurt), so he’s our number one lefty.
  • Saltalamacchia (I don’t even want to talk about him).

What are your takeaways from the first month of the season? It has to get better doesn’t it?