Monday, June 4, 2018

Ten weekly random thoughts - week 9 May 28-June 3

A third of the season, 2 full month and 6 days are in the books. May was a disastrous month all around. The Blue Jays failed to win more than one game at a time and were swept twice, including the final three in May. The offence, defense and pitching have all struggled the past month. Here are ten random thoughts from week 9 of the MLB season.

1. The Blue Jays received good and bad news on the injury front this week. Randal Grichuk and Aledmys Diaz returned to the lineup after rehabbing knee and ankle injuries. Diaz gives the Blue Jays a more natural shortstop. Grichuk is also a better defensive option in right field. Aledmys Diaz was
1-3, including run scored his first game back. Grichuk has struggled offensively all season and was hitless his first 2 games back. He'll have competition with Curtis Granderson and Teoscar Hernandez for playing time and Steve Pearce when he returns from injury.

2. The bad news on the injury front was that Josh Donaldson was forced to make another trip to the DL for the calf injury that occurred running the bases in Boston this week. The Blue Jays need Donaldson to get healthy to help the team and also showcase himself for a possible trade in a month or two should the Blue Jays find themselves out of contention.In his absence, Yangervis Solarte, Russell Martin and Gio Urshela will likely platoon for playing time.

3. Hernandez may not be an option in RF/LF for a few days. He left Saturday's game after fouling a ball off his right foot. X-rays were negative but no doubt his foot will be sore for a while. It's possible Hernandez may wind up on the DL depending on how he recovers in the coming days.There aren't many options in the minor league to recall either as it was announced Dalton Pompey would miss 6-8 weeks with a ligament tear in his thumb. This leaves Anthony Alford or Dwight Smith Jr. as recall options in case of injury.

4. Jaime Garcia had the roughest start of any Blue Jay starting pitcher this season (yes even Marcus Stroman). The Blue Jays 5th starter was knocked around to the tune of 4 runs on 6 hits in 1.2 innings. Garcia was coming off an exceptional performance of 7 strong innings in Philadelphia. Hopefully Gacia can rebound in his next start, which should come in the Baltimore series this week.

5. There were a pair of snake-bitten pitchers this week who were injured their first game after stints on the DL. In St. Louis, Alex Reyes was making his return to the majors after missing all of 2017 recovering from Tommy John surgery. Reyes lasted just 4 innings before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the 5th after sustaining a significant lat injury that will take weeks to heal. In LA, Clayton Kershaw was returning from the DL after rehabbing a bicep injury. He lasted just 5 innings before having his troublesome back flare up on him in the 5th inning of his start. I feel most for Reyes, who missed an entire season with an injury and was chomping at the bit to come back.

6. A rather disturbing thing took place in Detroit this week. A Canada goose got loose on the field at Comerica park on Thursday. Groundskeepers proceeded to set off firecrackers and chase the poor bird to get it to leave. They forced the bird to fly into an LED display in the upper deck. Thankfully the bird was ok and was later released to a local pond. It was wrong of the groundskeepers to use fire crackers and to chase the bird. It was lucky no one was hurt and that the bird was ok.

7. The all-star voting process opened on Friday. I could not bring myself to vote in any Blue Jay except Justin Smoak because no one has played well enough to deserve the honor of repping the Blue Jays in Washington. I find it a bit odd to see Russell Martin listed as our starting catcher when Luke Maile has been playing that position most frequently each week. JA Happ will likely get the nod as the Blue Jay playing in the all-star game as he has been the best overall performer on the team. Whether he pitches in the game will be dependent on when he pitches the week before the all-star game.

8. Draft day is coming up on Monday. I won't begin to analyze who the Blue Jays might pick as I don't know enough about the 2018 prospect class (maybe somebody can weigh in and comment on it). Of course Jays fans are chomping at the bit to see Vladimir Guerrero Jr. make his major league debut, perhaps later this season or next season. Bo Bichette is another prospect who has been matching Guerrero hit for hit this season. They both look like they are playing in a video game set to rookie level. Catching prospect Danny Jansen will almost certainly make his major league debut in September at the latest or earlier should Maile or Martin get hurt. Hang tough Blue Jays fans, the future looks very bright in the next 2-3 years.

9. A huge birthday shout-out to JITH MVP @mktoronto. She works tirelessly to keep us writers in line and make sure we have gameday threads to weigh in on the Blue Jays games. She also recruited yours truly to write the game recaps and weekly random thought posts. Hope you have a good one MK.

10. Blue Jay of the week: Ryan Tepera for getting the final 5 outs in the lone victory this week. Honorable mention goes to John Axford who was excellent this weekend in Detroit, retiring all 9 batters he faced.

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