TORONTO, Ont. – The Blue Jays couldn’t have picked a worse way to close out their first homestand of the season, following up a dominating shutout win on Saturday by getting utterly thrashed on Sunday – down by five runs before an out was even recorded.
As they head out for their first road trip of a campaign still in its zygotic stages, here are a couple of things that are important to bear in mind:
IT’S A LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG SEASON
Not only does one game not a season make, but neither does one week or even one month. The Blue Jays are likely to have several weeks this season in which they lose four games, that’s part of the ebb and flow of the whole 162.
Sure, wins in April are exactly the same as wins in September – as are losses – but the difference is the amount of time a team has to overcome them. A 2-4 start is nothing at all, there are countless teams that have started a season that way and gone won the World Series, and likely even more teams have started that way and finished in last place.
There was a lot of hype about this Blue Jays team in the off-season, and so far none of the highly-touted additions to the team have performed to expectations, with the exception of Jose Reyes. But the season is only 3.7 per cent done. That’s comparable to the beginning of the second half in the first game of an NFL season.
REMEMBER THE LESSONS OF HISTORY
Blowouts like the Blue Jays’ 13-0 loss to the Red Sox are hard to swallow, but they’re going to happen, even to the best teams in the game.
The 1992 Blue Jays – the first of the back-to-back World Series champions – lost a game to the Milwaukee Brewers by a score of 22-2, and had 20 losses by five or more runs, as did the 1993 team, which had a 12-1 loss to the Tigers.
But this is different, right? Because the Blue Jays were outscored 34-22 in these first six games, which indicates just how terrible they really are.
Well, sure, having your opponents score 12 more runs than you have over six games certainly isn’t pretty, but history shows that one of the best teams ever – the 1998 New York Yankees – got off to an even worse start.
Those Yankees were also 2-4 to start their season – prompting calls for Joe Torre to be fired – and were outscored 43-28 in so doing, including losses of 10-2 and 8-0. They wound up going 125-50 for the year, including the playoffs.
Am I comparing these Blue Jays to that Yankees team? Of course not. I’m just saying that the first week of the season tells you absolutely nothing about the way the rest of the year will play out.
Even R.A. Dickey’s history shows that Sunday’s pounding wasn’t an indication of how his season is going to go. A lot of Blue Jays fans seem to be wondering if Dickey’s success with the Mets last season was a fluke (it wasn’t – he was terrific the two years previous, as well), or if it will translate to the American League, and will take this start as confirmation of their beliefs.
Here’s the thing: last April, Dickey had almost EXACTLY the same start as he did on Sunday. That day, he got roughed up by the Atlanta Braves to the tune of eight runs on eight hits over 4 1/3 innings. He walked two, struck out five and three of the hits he allowed were home runs.
In Sunday’s loss to the Red Sox, Dickey threw 4 2/3 innings and gave up eight runs (seven earned) on ten hits, two of which were home runs. He walked two and struck out five. He bounced back from that start against the Braves last year to, you know, win the Cy Young Award.
Things don’t get any easier for the Blue Jays as they hit the road for the first time this season. Their first stop is Detroit, home of the defending American League Champions. Brandon Morrow, one of two Blue Jays’ starters to pitch well during the homestand, gets the call against Tigers’ righty Anibal Sanchez.
All three games in Motown are afternoon affairs, so be sure to join Jerry Howarth, Jack Morris and myself at 1:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday.