An absolutely brutal schedule awaits the Blue Jays in the days to come. 20 of their next 23 games are against the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros. For all the media hype and fan excitement of embracing baseball again after all this time, the season could effectively come down to having a strong April and May before the bottom possibly falls out. The prospect of playing catch-up in a division dominated by three other bona fide contenders is not what any fan of this team desires to witness once we hit the dog days, and the Jays will have 19 shots at each of them during the season.
Toronto’s total payroll in 2022 is roughly $169 million dollars putting them a distance third behind the Yankees ($245m) and the Red Sox ($201m). This is where I can’t help but grit my teeth and wonder if perhaps spending a mere $15 million on your middle-relief corps will ever really get the job done. It’s pure surrealism when Jordan Romano is making a paltry $728,400 this year, which in itself is beyond laughable and a stunning reminder why an unappreciated stopper is a terrible thing. I’m sure Rogers can dig down and find some pocket change for when it’s urgently needed at the trade deadline.
Usually when Hyin-jin Ryu is spotted a 6-1 lead after three innings, the time to enjoy frosty beverages and mediocre hot dogs whilst having fun with your mostly “bored by the fifth inning” friends at the ballpark is a given. Alas, yesterday was nothing short of a pitching massacre with the home side throwing a bevy of fat pitches and ill-timed bases on balls. Five relievers couldn’t stop the bleeding and went on to surrender 6 runs; the entire bench ended up mostly shell-shocked by the middle of the game and hitters failed to string multiple hits the rest of the way. This team will rarely ever find itself out of any game, but this one felt over after the first hour was in the books. Without Ryu’s capacity to provide the glue as a durable third starter, double-digit affairs are likely to happen more often than not.
Danny Jansen has erupted to begin the season and this should make fans beyond delighted. For MiLB aficionados and social media experts who loved the fact that he came up with the Guerrero-Bichette-Biggio nucleus of talent, Jansen’s trajectory was derailed by a legitimately poor start to his MLB career coupled with nagging injuries which cast some doubt on his future with this team. Factor in a roster that has the prodigious hitting machine known as Alejandro Kirk, and a mercurial minor league mashing talent in Gabriel Moreno, and it’s obvious to anyone that this 27-year old’s time is now; early on, he hasn’t disappointed, and deserves nothing but praise for his extraordinary work ethic, evolving plate discipline, and overall loyalty to the Blue Jays.
The Cuban wonder that is Alek Manoah finds himself facing the Bronx Bombers tonight and is bringing his four-seam/upper 90’s fastball, a mid-90’s devastating sinker, an aesthetically pleasing slider, and a surprise-in-your-face changeup to Yankee Stadium. A first round draft pick that went 11th overall in 2019, this Shapiro/Atkins gem had a WAR equivalent (2.8) to $16 million dollars last year, which is especially astounding considering he’s only going to make $706,200 this year. Besides struggling last August (if going 2-1 with a 4.33 ERA is considered a struggle in this day and age), he was remarkably consistent as the team went 16-4 in his starts. They also scored him a plethora (6.42) of runs per game, and few will forget that September 13th start where he allowed a single hit in 8 innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts against the Rays. He’s also 24 years old and likely won’t surprise anyone if he’s the ace of this staff by mid-summer.
It was a naughty weekend for unruly women who fancy massive alcoholic consumption as one found herself arrested for punching a police officer after mistaking him for a miscreant who had shoved her earlier, while another ended up gratuitously vomiting outside Gate 9 into a nearby water fountain. The moral of the story? Overpriced beer is best enjoyed when you’re trying to do the wave or open a box of cracker jacks rather than imbibing to the point of generating internet infamy and public scorn because you decided to make a sorry ass of yourself in front of children on national television.
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