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Things have gotten a bit too Chicken Little lately...

That's not to say that everything about this team is totally fine right now, or that recent events haven't been an utter and complete garbage bin of suck. Because, god damn. There is really nothing good you can say about the Blue Jays over the past two weeks. Tulowitzki's been good? Um, their jerseys are still really sharp? Yeah, that's all I got. Holy Springfield Tire Fire, folks.

But bemoaning a cruddy twelve game stretch or inventing lazy metaphors is not why we're here. The season ain't over, there's still a lot of baseball left to play and it's not too late to reserve the spin of this Death Spiral. Here are some reasons to be optimistic, presented in classic clickbaity form.

1. Josh Donaldson still plays for the 2016 Blue Jays.

I mean, hopefully.

2. They're still currently in a playoff spot

Going or settling for the second wildcard maybe isn't quite aiming high enough for your championship goal, but at least it gives you a chance. The road team has also won six of the eight winner-take-all Wildcard games thus far, which means... well nothing really. Even if winning this game is really a 50/50 chance, a coin toss, I'll take that over just throwing the coin away to buy a crappy doughnut or something.

3. They don't play Tampa Bay again

Seriously. What the heck is up with these jerks? A guy released by the Padres beats us with a home run? The freaking PADRES???? Ugh...

4. Something Something Jose Bautista

There's really no factual basis for this one, I've just got a feeling Bats has some big time heroics in him soon. You can watch certain ballplayers enough to know which ones give you that sense, really in any level of the sport. Joey is one of those guys, off year be damned. Yeah and by the way, those folks (and they exist) slagging Bats alone for the teams' rough spell, or even blaming him (they're a .600 team with him on the DL!) do you really think one ballplayer is so poisonous, so loathed by his teammates and all that encounter him, that his very presence causes the team to play worse? Come on. Even Ty Cobb wasn't despised that much.

5. That last series

The final weekend in Fenway. Assume Toronto continues stumbling in their own way, but manages to talent their way into enough wins to stay afloat? If they're within three games of Boston it's a wild longshot for a share of the division. If they're within two, well it's the exact same wild longshot, actually. But if they're within one? Giddy up. It's not impossible.

Assuming, you know, they start winning some damn games of course. Maybe get on that, guys. If only to make your old pal Eephus look good. (Or if the Red Sox and Orioles decide to lose 13 in a row, that works too.)

Five Reasons To Still Believe in 2016 | 23 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
bpoz - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#331504) #
Thanks Eephus.

This slump is hard to take but I remain optimistic. Go Jays Go !!!
Mike Green - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#331505) #
Yes, it's a little (OK, maybe more than a little) corny but Frank Turner has your music for today. 

What I would do.  Have faith in Michael Saunders- play him every day and flip him in and out of the RF/DH roles with Bautista.  Give Upton the job in left-field with the odd start for Pompey against a RHP.  Give no more than 3 starts to catchers  other than Martin (and no DH roles for Navarro or Thole under any circumstances).  Plan on using five relievers in the medium and high leverage roles (Cecil, Biagini, Benoit, Grilli, Osuna) and aim for 1 inning roles for them. 
jerjapan - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 10:08 AM EDT (#331506) #
Great post Eephus. I share your trust in Jose!

And agreed with Mike Green's suggestions - dance with the one you brung in Saunders, no freakin' backup catchers DHing and limit the arms relied on in the pen - although I'd add Barnes to that list of reliable arms, despite his giving up runs in his last three appearances. The kid throws strikes.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 10:14 AM EDT (#331507) #
I like Danny Barnes too, and he would be my sixth choice. 
Dewey - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 11:10 AM EDT (#331508) #
. . . itís not too late to reserve the spin of this Death Spiral. . . .

Long, long ago that used to be called a Freudian slip.
uglyone - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 11:14 AM EDT (#331510) #
Estrada officially has a herniated disk.
Kasi - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 11:57 AM EDT (#331513) #
Yeah which probably gives a better reason for the struggles (this is not a surprise, we know he's had an injured back for months) than the rotation thing. Question being I guess can we afford to pitch him given how he's playing now? Should they go back to a 5 man rotation minus Estrada?
John Northey - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 12:06 PM EDT (#331514) #
So, yeah it sucks when the team slumps in September but remember, outside of 2015 this is the best position the team has been in since 1993.

September 15th...
2014: 11 1/2 back, 5 1/2 behind wildcard
2013: 22 back, dead last in the east by 10, the year they started as favorites.
2012: 15 1/2 back both division & wildcard
2011: 15 1/2 back, 11 1/2 for wildcard
2010: 15 back, 14 1/2 wildcard.

Ugh. that's just this decade but I don't feel up to digging further. Last real contention year was probably 2000 (finished 4 1/2 out of east lead) but were 9 back at this point. 3 behind in wildcard. Then the Jays went 7-9 to flop out.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 12:14 PM EDT (#331515) #
It's official if a report from Jon Morosi qualifies as such.

So, the next five games are pitched by Happ, Dickey, Liriano, Stroman and Estrada (?).  You do need a viable middle inning pitching plan given that you cannot expect 6-7 innings consistently, as has been the season-long pattern.  Gibbons has been trying to patch it through using early platoon matchups.  It's not working (not that it is an easy issue to deal with).  I would probably choose Barnes and Biagini, as my middle inning players, until (at least) Sanchez returns.  I would make sure that when a starter leaves early, they get 2 innings minimum.  If Estrada gets a start, I would max him out at 50 pitches and then bring on Barnes or Biagini. 
Chuck - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 01:00 PM EDT (#331517) #
A guy released by the Padres beats us with a home run?

It's like when Jerry was dating a woman cast off by Newman. Newman!

Magpie - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 01:43 PM EDT (#331518) #
My subjective impression of Bautista since he came back is that a) he's getting just underneath the balls he hits in the air, and outfielders are catching them, and 2) he's hitting a lot of line drives - maybe more than usual - but he hits them so hard they're not landing in front of the outfielders. They're getting all the way to the outfielders on the fly. Which is no help.

I'm told that hitting the ball hard is generally a sign of Future Goodness, but something useful right now is needed.
Magpie - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 02:04 PM EDT (#331519) #
the best position the team has been in since 1993.

1993? What do I remember about 1993? Oh yeah, six-game losing streak in early September, coughed up the entire first place cushion. I remember weeping, wailing, rending of garments. The usual.
uglyone - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 02:35 PM EDT (#331520) #
finished your list for you, John!

Jays' best September 14th standings:

1991: 81-62, +4.5
1992: 84-61, +4.0
1985: 90-52, +3.5
*2015: 82-61, +3.5*
1993: 82-63, +1.5
1989: 80-67, +1.5
1987: 86-57, 0.0
*2016: 79-66, -2.0*
1990: 77-68, -3.0
1988: 74-72, -8.5
1983: 81-66, -9.0
1986: 77-66, -9.0
2000: 76-70, -9.0
2008: 80-70, -9.5
1984: 83-64, -10.0
1999: 77-69, -10.0
2014: 77-71, -11.5
2006: 76-70, -13.0
2005: 72-73, -13.0
2010: 73-72, -15.0
2011: 75-74, -15.5
2007: 73-74, -15.5
2012: 65-78, -15.5
2003: 76-73, -16.0
2001: 70-73, -16.0
1994: 55-60, -16.0
1996: 67-81, -17.5
1982: 65-78, -19.0
1997: 71-78, -20.5
2013: 68-80, -22.0
1981: 31-59, -23.0
1998: 81-69, -24.0
2002: 68-80, -25.0
1995: 52-77, -25.5
2009: 65-79, -27.5
1980: 61-82, -30.0
2004: 59-85, -31.0
1978: 57-89, -31.5
1977: 48-96, -41.0
1979: 47-99, -49.5
Mike Green - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 02:54 PM EDT (#331522) #
My subjective impression of Bautista is a little less favourable.  He's not hitting the ball as hard as before, and he makes it down to first base much slower than before.  His pop-up rate is higher than ever, his infield hit rate is down from 8%  two years ago to under 2% and his home run rate is down from excellent to very good.  He is (I think) consciously trying to hit more line drives, which hopefully might lead to a decline in his pop-up rate. 

I think that he does have another adaptation in him, but that it is likely to occur next year as a full-time DH and after an off-season of healing and dedicated work (which he is unquestionably capable of). 

Mike Green - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 03:10 PM EDT (#331523) #
The 1983 line really stands out.  The club was 15 games over .500 on August 2 and 1 game out.  They played .500 ball over the next 6 weeks and were 9 games out on September 14.  That was tough, but everyone was pretty sure that better things were coming. 
92-93 - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 04:17 PM EDT (#331524) #
There have been a few balls Bautista has hit since he's returned that I thought were sure hits/HRs, but they seem to not be jumping off the bat the way they used to. I don't think his lower half is ready yet. If Donaldson's injury is going to linger, the Jays are really going to need Bautista to finish 2016 strong if they are going to do the same. I do still like the ABs he's having.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 04:25 PM EDT (#331527) #
He is being challenged more by pitchers recently.  He is going to have make a few more pay before they go back to nibbling. 
eudaimon - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 04:29 PM EDT (#331529) #
Bautista hit a low screaming hard liner to left sometime in the last two games that made me feel optimistic. It was hit about as hard as a ball can be hit (and of course, with the Jays recent luck, it went for an out).  Otherwise I feel like his bat speed has also improved recently. Hopefully he finds his swing soon.
uglyone - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#331531) #
I've been a bit depressed seeing liners that look like rockets off joey's bad turning into lazy flyouts.
CeeBee - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 04:35 PM EDT (#331532) #
Well the west coast is a good place to start swinging.
SK in NJ - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 07:01 PM EDT (#331538) #
Four game sweeps are not easy, but the Jays doing that to the Angels would make me somewhat of a believer again. They have to beat up on the bad teams before the Seattle-New York-Baltimore-Boston gauntlet to end the season. They wasted the chance by losing the series to their fathers (the Rays), but have to take advantage of the Angels now.
Mike Green - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 08:20 PM EDT (#331539) #
Josh Donaldson in the lineup and DHing tonight. Saunders in left and Bautista in right.
scottt - Thursday, September 15 2016 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#331540) #
Yankees leading over Boston and Tampa leading over Baltimore so far.
I'll just check the score in the morning this time.

Five Reasons To Still Believe in 2016 | 23 comments | Create New Account
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