Learning How To Love Toronto Blue Jays' Adam Lind Again (In A Platoon, That Is)

By Thom Tsang
John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Fool me one, shame on you, fool me twice, and a third, and a fourth, and a fi … you get the idea.

Still, that’s what being a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays have boiled down to over the last few years when it comes to Adam Lind. Despite the almost wholesale changes that the roster has undergone, the one guy who stuck around was always the one who disappointed the most. Just as the team can’t seem to shake the first baseman/DH for whatever reason, so too does the the question persist around the veteran:

Will Adam Lind ever be good again?

The answer, of course, was inevitably no — and it hasn’t changed since his breakout season in 2009.

And yet, for every streak he gets on, and every good month, bluebirds fans are reminded of that glimmer of hope that this was once a 35-home run hitter with a .932 OPS who drove in 114 runs once. This time will be different. This time, the streak will continue, and he’ll regain his form. That’s what we tell ourselves until Lind inevitably stinks up the rest of the season, as he’s done over most of his last 1508 PA.

So … obviously, 2013 will be different, right?

Actually, in a way, yes.

See, there is a measurable difference to how the 29-year-old has come about getting on yet another hot streak — he’s only hitting against right-handers. Finally, the Blue Jays found a manager who noticed Lind’s .839/.607 LHP/RHP split in OPS, and decided ‘hey, I do like that number on the left there, but not really the one on the right’ … and then proceeded to do something about it.

As a result, the first baseman has gotten all of five plate appearances against lefties so far this year. It’s the other 90, though, that’s providing the Blue Jays with some major rewards.

Despite getting off to a rather bad .244/.397/.311 start that swapped power for a ridiculous 2.00 BB/K rate, Lind decided that getting on base while hitting singles isn’t all that fun, and went back to an approach that involves swinging the bat, dropping the number down to 0.83 in May.

What that meant, on the other hand, is that the power is back, and then some. Through 37 PA in the the month thus far, Lind has hit three home runs and two doubles behind a fantastic .344/.432/.688 triple-slash; numbers that are enough to make you fall in love all over again.

But, it’s a conditional love, and it comes with its caveats: one, he’s teased the Blue Jays before (remember June of 2011, anyone?), and two, this can only happen against righties.

Resisting the urge to utter the words “full-time at-bats” will be John Gibbons‘ biggest challenge going forward when dealing with Lind, but as the skipper has shown before, he’s generally not adverse to stick to platoons, especially when it’s so painfully obvious that it’s the only way to get any value out of a player as in this case.

So give the guy whose job was under fire not too long ago some credit, too. He’s made it safe to watch Lind again without your televisions or your hair being at risk, and that’s saying something.

Just … you know, don’t be too hard on yourself if Lind breaks your heart again, that’s all.

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