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Week 1 Review: Blue Jays

The Blue Jays finished their first week with a 3-4 record after facing the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field (2-2) and 3 against the New York Yankees at Home (1-2). It’s hard to draw a lot of conclusions from just 7 games but we can take a look at what the first week told us or at least we think it told us.

Offense

The offense has started off very slow with a .216 AVG, .277 OBP and produced just 3.14 runs/game.  They are sitting 20th overall in walk %, 10th best in strikeout % and 3rd overall in HR’s. When you consider those poor offensive numbers, still winning 3 games is not all that bad. This is not what you would expect from the Blue Jays offense and  an improvement should be expected. The offense also faced tough pitching from the Rays & Yankees so a poor week should have been expected but probably not this poor.

Pitching

I have been a big defender of the Blue Jays pitching staff and this week did not help my case. They currently are the 8th worse team in team ERA at 4.57 after some terrible starting pitching mixed in with some brilliant starting pitching. On the positive side they Jays are 6th overall in K/9, 3rd in HR/9 and 7th in FIP. However allowing the 2nd most walks/9 in the league is not a recipe for success, especially not in a week when you are facing tough AL East rivals. The pitching was really a mixed bag and we should see some clarity over the next few weeks.

Negatives

Jose Reyes: Reyes left after half of an inning and 1 AB, he came close to a nice leadoff hit had Desmond Jennings not make a fantastic play. Loosing Reyes in the first game was a huge loss as it drastically changes the look of the Blue Jays lineup. Hopefully his hamstring recovers quickly and he can return asap.

Dustin McGowan: I really don’t want to pick on McGowan but his first start was really poor. With a line of 2.2 IN, 8 hits, 4 Runs and 17 batters faced it was just not an acceptable performance. His biggest issue was that he was just far too hittable, it has been suggested he was tipping his pitches which could have added to the poor performance.

Jeremy Jeffress: In 3.1 IN Jeffress gave up 8 hits and 3 walks which resulted in 4 earned runs. He was essentially the mop up guy who kept the games well out of reach. Jeffress was DFA’d and while he can light up the radar guy he has not been able to harness his abilities. We might not see him again or like in 2013 he could return to the minors and come up when he is hot and excel.

Edwin Encarnacion: Edwin had a pretty bad week and gets my pick for the worst performance on the team. Edwin had a 34.5% strikeout rate which is highly unusual considering his 10% rate in 2013. He failed to deliver this week and was not himself. If Edwin can get locked in this week the Jays should score a lot more runs.

Colby Rasmus: Rasmus has looked lost at the plate so far with 10 SO in only 23 AB. To make things worse he has been hitting 2nd most days between Cabrera and Bautista which has resulted in many unproductive outs.

Positives

Melky Cabrera: Melky has been on fire hitting 3HR, with a .323 AVG. He appears to be healthy and has been a valuable top of the lineup option for the Blue Jays.

Jose Bautista: Bautista has been looking like himself again with 3HR, 7 walks and a .414 OBP. He is waiting for his pitch and has been crushing the ones he wants.

Adam Lind: Lind has only been facing RHP and when he has been playing he has been really solid with a .308 AVG and a .500 OBP. He will see some LHP but when the likes of Price are pitching its best he sits out.

Maicer Izturis: After such a terrible 2013 it has been great to see Izturis come out swinging, he leads the Blue Jays with 8 hits and sports a flashy .500 AVG.

Mark Buehrle: Buehrle was absolutely dominant in his first start striking out 11 over 8.2 innings with only 1 walk and 4 hits. It was one of the best games I have seen, he was cutting up the strike zone with Roy Halladay precision.

In the Middle

Brett Lawrie: Lawrie has started off very slowly but with only 4 strikeouts, unlike Rasmus he is making contact. Things should turn around soon for Lawrie.

R.A. Dickey: Dickey pitched two games, one great and one terrible. The Blue Jays will need a lot more of the 6.2 shutout innings Dickey pitched in his second game and less of the 6 ER over 5 inning performance. He needs to cut down the walks.

Drew Hutchison: Hutch also had 1 good and 1 bad start. I am willing to give the 23-year-old a pass as a few bad starts are expected. His walk rate is also pretty high which should even out soon.