I don’t think there was a single bigger moment in 2015 than the infamous Bat Flip. The biggest proof of that is that I can say “bat flip” and you probably know what I’m referring to. For that reason, I think the series starting tonight vs the Texas Rangers is likely the most anticipated meeting of the year so far – the return of 2015’s ALDS opponent to the Rogers Centre.
But the team hosting the series is very different from the one that won the ALDS last year. Or is it?
While it’s only been one month, the 2016 Jays are playing sub-.500 baseball. For April they went 11-14, scoring 95 runs while allowing 102. In the 2015 ALDS & ALCS, the Jays had a record of 5-6, scoring 52 runs and allowing 57 runs. Doing some very rough extrapolating, the 2015 playoff Jays over 25 games would have a record of about 11-14, with 118 Runs For and 130 Runs against.
For those of you doing the math, their actual RF/RA differential this year is -7, and the theoretical 25 game record above is -12. Pretty similar!
I’m not suggesting that it’s time to panic, or pack it in. At only 26 games into the season, with a 12-14 record, it’s far from over. I have to wonder though…at what point do we accept the team’s real record? Last year, the Jays had a poor first two months – both below .500, and didn’t turn it around until June when they went on their first 11-game winning streak of the year. Even then, July was a losing month. It wasn’t until August when they really took off.
I guess what I’m suggesting here is that you can’t assume the Blue Jays are going to continue to be as bad as they are this year, but you also can’t assume they’re going to be as good as they were at the end of last year. However, their 2015 playoff record pretty well matches what they put together in April of this year.
I think the Jays need to look at their bullpen options, as that’s been the real issue, but it’s hard to not want to wait it out a bit longer to see if some of the struggling players (read: the entire team outside of the starting pitching staff) pick up their play and start playing to their potential.