Tough Sledding

Monday, April 18 2011 @ 04:00 AM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

The Jays wrap up the season's first road trip with a morning game against the Bostons, who you knew weren't going to persist in emulating the 1962 Mets...

The schedule makers gave Toronto just 11 home games in their first 31. When they're done with Boston, they come home for a five game stand against the Yankees and the Devil Fishies - and then it's back on the road for another 10 games, where they will visit the Rangers, the Yankees and the Rays - you know, three of the four teams who made it to the post-season last year. No one should be too surprised if they're looking up at the rest of the division by the time this is done - not too surprised, and not too worried.

It has been encouraging to see the strong early season performances of Kyle Drabek and J.P. Arencibia (with the bat anyway - I think the jury is still out on his defensive work.) Ricky Romero and Jose Bautista are picking up more or less where they left off last season. Travis Snider isn't hitting, but I'm starting to suspect that young Snider may prove to be a somewhat streaky performer with the bat anyway, veering back and forth between hitting like Ted Williams in 1941 and Ted Williams today.  He is still green as grass, and it especially shows in his outfield play.

Snider has also been running the bases very aggressively, like many of his teammates. On the whole, I'd say this has worked out exactly as aggressive baserunning always works out - they've stolen the occasional run, and they've sabotaged the occasional promising inning. (In yesterday's game, they achieved both of these ends.) I've always believed that aggressive base running helps you beat the bad teams, which is a good thing; however, I also believe that it helps the good teams beat you, which is not so wonderful. It would be swell to take that into account at some point. That point may not be now, however. One of the other things that is achieved with this kind of aggressive approach is what it teaches a young team about itself - this is how young players discover what they can and can not do (as well as what they should and should not do.)

Is it just me, or does this team's offense look... shallow? I suppose it looks especially shallow when just three regulars (Bautusta, Escobar, Arencibia) are carrying the offense on their backs, with very little help from the rest. It's early days, of course - Rajai Davis and Juan Rivera are surely not this utterly useless (although Rivera is the most uninterested ball player I have seen in some time.) I think we're all waiting to see what the team gets from Lind (currently in a 2-23 skid after a good start) and Aaron Hill (6 hits in his last 10 ABs - maybe he's actuallyheating up for the first time in eighteen months!)

Ricky Romero has been simply sensational, of course - 20 Ks and just 4 BB in his 21.1 IP speaks for itself. The base on balls has been a bit of a problem for the rest of the staff, most obviously in the Seattle bullpen meltdown. David Purcey paid the price for that, but he was hardly the only offender. The team has issued more free passes than any other team in the league Villanueva, Rzepczynski, and Dotel have combined to issue 15 walks in just 20.2 innings. They need to cut that out.