Apologies off the top for the delay in weekend posting, but if you've been following along on twitter, you'll have noted that Friday evening was a real meeting of the minds between our gracious blog host (Tao) and yours truly. You'll also have noted that Friday evening's game (playoffs!) went into extras, which (naturally) resulted in a few extra beverages.....which resulted in a supremely sluggish Saturday morning. If you need me to spell it out for you....I'm not 25 years old anymore, friends.
Short of plotting world baseball blogging dominance, good times were had. I'd delve into the detail, but I'm pretty sure that the non-disclosure agreement I was forced to sign prevents me from discussing. Hey, I just work here.
(That, and you'd be bored to tears. "Hey man, I DO NOT appreciate Jose Bautista."...."Oh, fuck off. He's SOLID, dude." Well, not exactly. But I digress....)
So here we are. But where exactly are we? Following the travails of a team that some would say is overachieving - 4 games over .500 a full fifth of the way through the schedule. This seems to be the path of the team - getting off to promising starts before falling off and into the wilderness with the Orioles as the season progresses. But something is different about this club.
We're not all waiting for the other shoe to drop, for one. Lowered expectations for the win! But it's more than that. In seasons past, when our (my?) primary bitch was the lack of organizational direction and low-ceiling makeup of the roster, the frustration borne from the mounting losses was invariably compounded by a growing sense of hopelessness.
But look at where the club is now, right now - objectively and without wearing the fanboy hat - and try to convince me the same applies. You can't, and you won't. For starters (literally), the Jays are deep in the asset every organization covets most - young pitching. And people are starting to notice - as well they should.
"I see Romero as the guy who's going to emerge as their go-to guy to shut down a series," he said. "To me, there's almost a scary resemblance between him and vintage Johan [Santana]. His change has really developed. But he's got three other pitches to go to. With more experience, and a team that can catch the ball, he's got a chance to be an 18-20-game winner.
"Marcum's got the makeup of a front-end rotation guy. His stuff is a little below that. But he battles so well, I wouldn't bet against him. I've always liked Cecil. And Morrow doesn't have the feel of those other guys. But he's got quality stuff. It's a pretty impressive young group."
Somebody help me - what's that word we once used to describe quotes like these? Added bonus, the above doesn't even take into consideration potential frontline arms coming up through the system like Drabek, Stewart, and Jenkins. And let's not sleep on RZep, who's now throwing again.
It's all good news on the pitching front, but you can't win every game 1-0. It would be foolish to pretend that there aren't holes in the starting 9. One needs only witness a classic Manager giveaway game lineup to realize the threadbare depth at the major league level. That's not to say there aren't pieces, for now and three years from now.
Adam Lind will find his stroke and remind us all that he's a very bad man. Aaron Hill will emerge from the fog and be, at the least, an above average second basemen in all facets. Travis Snider is starting to rake, right on cue (though I'd love to see him mash a good country fastball). Vernon Wells isn't done and Freddy Lewis has been a great addition to the team.
More importantly, help is on the way. Brett Wallace and his 1.0+ Vegas-aided OPS. One of the 17 catching prospects (deep!) will pan out and be The Man behind the plate. Perhaps one of Eric Thames or Brad Emaus will fly in from under the radar and be the surprise story that every team needs. And let's not forget about Adeiny.
All in all, I'd say it's a fun time to be a Blue Jays fan. Wouldn't you agree?
Say it aint so, HTV. Does that mean you'll be leaving us too?