Are the Jays for real?

The 2010 version of the Toronto Blue Jays have been a wonderful surprise this year to Canadian baseball fans. 2010 was supposed to be the rebuilding year for the Jays, but this rebuilding year turned into a winning year…at least so far. After trading Roy Halladay everyone seemed to have given up on the Jays except the Jays themselves. They came out and played with no expectations, no pressure, which seems to be the recipe for success for these Jays. With the resurgence of Vernon Wells, the unexpected offensive outburst from John Buck, Jose Bautista, and Alex Gonzalez has combined to give the Blue Jays the league lead in home runs. However, the Blue Jays starting pitching has also been a very nice surprise as Ricky Romero looks like a future #1 starter as well as quality pitching from the other 4 including Shaun Marcum who came off shoulder surgery this past off season. Although the bullpen has been very questionable, Kevin Gregg has proven that he can be the closer with an AL leading 12 saves. This all begs the question, are the 2010 Toronto Blue Jays for real?

As a fan of the Blue Jays I would love to say that they are in prime position to challenge for playoff spot and actually playing some meaningful September ball for once…but I can’t. The Blue Jays up to this point have well over-achieved. Despite hitting the most home runs in the major leagues, the batting averages of almost all the Jays players across the board are atrocious. With the exception of Vernon Wells no regular is batting over .300 and only 2 players are batting above .250. You cannot rely on the long ball for an entire 162 games, and unless those averages somehow miraculously sky rocket I can’t see the Jays providing the same offense that they have been.

The Blue Jays shaky bullpen is another reason why they aren’t for real. The only supposed bright spot before the season started has actually been its Achilles heel so far. Their “big” three has been consistently inconsistent.  Jason Frasor has lost velocity on his fastball (although has gained some back at this point), Scott Downs does not seem to exhibit the same control that he has in the past, and Kevin Gregg WILL fall back down to earth and I’m not just saying that after a garbage blown save against the lowly mariners today.

It is possible though that the starting pitching remains its solid self as the season wears on, especially with the possible returns of Mark Rzepczynski and Jesse Litsch. As I mentioned earlier Ricky Romero looks in prime position to become one of the Major League’s finest after another great performance today. Shaun Marcum has been his consistent self. Brandon Morrow is getting better by the day and Brett Cecil has shown some flashes of brilliance in his stint with the big club.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to watch some meaningful ball in the dog days of summer for the Jays, and I’m sad to say that yet again I will be unable to see the Jays challenge for a playoff spot.

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