Coming Back Mo' Fearless

Monday, May 25 2009 @ 07:45 AM EDT

Contributed by: Alex Obal

Mo' determined to fold the set
I ain't even started yet
So if you ain't ready you better get ready
I know I do it better when I'm being opposed
Stick ya chest out, keep your chin up
'Cause sometimes you gotta get knocked down to get up

Before the Boston series, the Jays had been averaging 5.7 runs a game. In the last six games, they scored 10. If my powers of math are working, that's 1.7 runs a game.

The Jays would be hard pressed to win 25% of the time hitting like that if they had Doc Halladay starting every single day. During the losing streak, the pitching was not the problem. Sure, Cecil got rocked and Ray was exposed, but even counting their losses and yesterday's bullpen meltdown, the Jays' run prevention juggernaut allowed 30 runs over the six games - 5.0 per, which isn't good but is still fewer than the hitters been producing before they ran into Tim Wakefield.

The point is, this is primarily a hitting slump. If you've jumped off the ledge during the past six days, it's probably been because of the Jays' offensive struggles.

Until 5/18: .289/.358/.463, 235 strikeouts, 156 walks, 20/23 stealing bases
Since 5/19: .248/.296/.325, 30 strikeouts, 14 walks, 2/3 stealing bases

Here's the question: In the long run, how close will their offensive production be to the first line? To me, this is the big issue that determines how optimistic you are about the 2009 Jays.

I don't have an answer. But I'm placing much more weight on the six weeks of mashing than on the one week of '08rocity which happens to be the most recent week, and choosing to remain optimistic. As usual, there are overachievers and underachievers, who should cancel each other out; unlike usual, there are useful bench players capable of covering basically every position except short. And it's a testament to what an unstoppable bulldozing force the Jays were over their first 41 games that even now they're still just half a game out of first. And for the three hitting coaches in the dugout, can getting the team out of this slump be any harder than the total recalibration of the offense they had to oversee last summer? I need further evidence to convince me to jump off the bandwagon. I'm very comfortable where I am right now.

Brian Tallet looks to stop the bleeding today against Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie is less overpowering than usual this year (1.63 K/BB, 11 homers allowed already), and though he does have a 3.31 ERA and 0.99 WHIP for his career against Toronto, he only has 1 win in 8 starts. After going 1/12 with RISP yesterday I'm sure the Jays will be delighted to see someone so unclutch. Also, Baltimore just lost 8-5 to the Natinals and were no-hit for three innings by their bullpen. For the Orioles, just showing their faces in public should be enough of a moral victory. Asking them to handle Tallet's diagonal fastballs is way too much. Right? First pitch is at 1:35.