2023-04-04 · 2 min read · MLB/Baseball
José Berríos or "La Makina", professional baseball pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays

ESPN | The Star

The age-old adage of it’s still early is one that has plagued Blue Jays fans - including myself - for quite a while now. It’s an umbrella excuse for poor play during the first part of the season, and an unjustified covering-up in what has been a pathetic beginning to 2023.
Beyond a back-and-forth Opening Day game of which-pitching-staff-wants-to-lose-more that Toronto managed to eke out a 10-9 victory in, few - if any - positives have come to light since the nineteen hits on March 30th. Poor pitching, poor hitting, poor defense, and some rather ridiculous decision making has propelled this alleged contender to a 1-3 start, as the last team in the league to hit a home run goes into Tuesday’s game with Yusei Kikuchi taking the mound in game two versus Kansas City.
Four games is four games, I’m not crazy enough to ignore that fact. With that in mind though, there shouldn’t be much of a laissez-faire attitude when the team missed the playoffs by one (1) game in ‘21. Kevin Gausman didn’t allow an earned run in his first start, though the entire infield defense decided to take a day off that game. Manoah struggled on Opening Day, Chris Bassitt got annihilated, and Jose Berrios picked up right where he left off last year - getting blown out.
As bad as the pitching has been, and it has been truly awful, the ironic part is that it hasn’t really mattered. The team’s hit one meager home run, much less had any real success since the nineteen-hit Opening Day game, with a rather wimpy approach being taken by most in the lineup since then. If it isn’t obvious yet, this Cavan Biggio experiment needs to end. Yes, he walks. What else can he do? He can’t hit, that’s been made clear in recent history. His playing of 2B over the likes of Whit Merrifield and Santiago Espinal is rather bad. He’s a lefty bat, sure, but beyond that - what? If this all sounds harsh, good! There is no justification for him to take an at-bat late in a game, with runners on second and third when it’s close - none at all. Brandon Belt has done very little to open the season too, with both he and Biggio actively contributing to leaving way too many men on base.
Matt Chapman’s looked good, but the way he’s positioned in the lineup both of his last two doubles have accounted for zero, yes zero, RBIs because Kirk and Belt - neither of whom could score from first - were in front of him. Did I mention the all-powerful Blue Jays have only hit one home run (in a blowout loss, no less)?
Nobody would be this irate if the team started 1-3 but, you know, looked like a Major League team. The problem, or one of them at least, is that besides the offense on Opening Day and Kevin Gausman’s first start, nothing has looked good. At all.
Incidentally, this now forces Yusei Kikuchi - the team’s fifth starter - to pitch excellently or else the bullpen will be even more depleted, and everyone will be that much closer to pure, unaltered insanity. Negativity is one thing, being realistic is another. And realistically speaking, this team looks abysmal right now. Forgetting everything else, embarrassing doesn’t begin to describe this staff’s ability to make Kansas City - who scored only four runs total in their first series - look like an All-Star lineup.
At some point, Toronto will turn this around. But that doesn’t make it any less irritating to watch for the time being. And while I’m ranting, give Nathan Lukes a start for crying out loud - the guy was the Bisons’ MVP last year. Gee whiz.
Tune in Wednesday to hear if bearded Kikuchi really is our saviour, or if this team has driven me officially mad.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Gus Cousins


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