When Munenori Kawasaki said, “just release their stress, just drink beer and watch the games. If I was a baseball fan, I would just drink beers and shout during the game.” He delivered the motto of the second half of the Toronto Blue Jays’ season.
I went into this season with excitement and hope that the Blue Jays long playoff drought would end. After a first half filled with bad luck, poor defense, cold bats and terrible pitching, I have decided to take Kawasaki’s advice to heart. I am going to relax and enjoy the rest of the season one game at a time; looking for improvement from the players on a game-by-game basis, and let the team worry about the win column.
Looking for the positive aspects has made the team exciting to watch again. The core of this team is intact until 2015. The injury bug that has plagued the batting order should clear up soon with the return of Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera. The starting pitchers have shown signs of dominance in almost all the games. However, there always seems to be a really bad inning that dooms this team to another loss. Josh Johnson is great at throwing six innings of three hit, zero runs baseball. The problem seems to be with Johnson’s seventh inning where he gives up seven hits and five runs. There is a plethora of dominant innings thrown by the Blue Jays pitchers. Can they avoid the bad innings that leave them too far behind on the scoreboard?
In the remainder of the season, there are a couple things it would great to see from the Blue Jays. The Starting Pitchers: I will be watching for the Blue Jays starters to look less hittable. During most of the first 94 games, everything the starter would throw looked incredibly hittable. The starters are able to stay in the game but there always seemed to be a pending sense of doom. If I was able to see that the pitchers stuff was hittable from my couch, it can’t be surprising that the other team was able to do the same from the batter’s box.
I am looking forward to Brandon Morrow and J.A. Happ coming back to the rotation. It will be a relief to see the injured starters get back into the rotation and have the five man turn over a few times with no one man having to hit the DL. There is too much talent in the Blue Jays starting rotation to waste it sitting on the DL.
The starters also need to have some dominant games. As any fan, I appreciate it when my team is able to score 10 runs and then the pitcher mows down the other team’s line up. Winning games can cure a lot of problems; easy and dominant wins build confidence and the Blue Jays need both at this point in the season.
The Line Up: Going into the 2014 season, there have been hardly any available spots in this line up. The current players will most likely be there next season, and it would be fantastic if this line up would not fail when there are runners in scoring position. Without minimizing the difficulty of hitting a baseball, I must say that it has been disheartening to watch too many instances this season when the Blue Jays have runners on second and third with one out and I have no gut confidence that either of the runners will score. Unfortunately this line up has proven my gut correct too many times this year.
I still believe this team can make it to the playoffs but I am not going to worry about the playoffs now. I am going to take Kawasaki’s advice to relax, enjoy the game of baseball and shout at my TV. For those simple words of wisdom, I send Kawasaki my gratitude. He may have saved this season for me, no matter what the record may be at the end of the year.