Blue Jays Pitching Needs to Help Its Offense
With the Indians set to begin a three game series with the Blue Jays later this evening, I figured now would be a good time to reach out to someone over at Jays Journal to get their take on the Blue Jays and how the 20014-2 season has treated them thus far. That someone ended up being, the one and only, Kyle Franzoni.
I asked Kyle a number of questions about his beloved Blue Jays. Among them were what he thinks of the team’s start and whether they can finally end their playoff drought, what has surprised him about the 2014 season so far and the pitching… oh lord their pitching. I shudder at the thought of it. As always, Kyle did not disappoint and provided some great answers. If you feel so inclined, you can follow Kyle on Twitter @bballbigbrother.
Wahoo’s on First: The Blue Jays are 18-20 heading into Monday night’s game against the Angels, good enough for fourth place in the AL East and 3.5 games out of first. How do you feel about this team so far and do you think they have what it takes to end their postseason drought this season?
Kyle Franzoni: At times, I’ve seen more in the Blue Jays than what we expected, but then they stumble and look exactly as predicted heading into the season. The offense is humming, but unless they can get some consistency out of their pitching staff (outside of Mark Buehrle, who is due for regression), this is what we’re going to see all season; a team that hovers near .500 and misses the postseason.
Wahoo’s on First: The heart of the order, Cabrera, Bautista, and Encarnacion, is performing up to its usual, out of this world standard. Outside of those three, has anyone else stepped up and caught your attention offensively?
Kyle Franzoni: I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the production of our catching corps thus far. The tandem of
(.278/.315/.339, 16 RBI) and Josh Thole (.395/.439/.447) have far exceeded the offensive production we received from Thole and J.P. Arencibia a year ago. On the opposite side of that question, the bats of Brett Lawrie and Colby Rasmus have been down to start the year, but both are starting to come around now, so hopefully we can add them to the plus side of the column.
Wahoo’s on First: Mark Buehrle has been fantastic, going 6-1 with a 1.91 ERA. After that, the starting rotation gets a little shaky, including R.A. Dickey who hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations. Do you think the rotation can turn it around or would it take a major move to fix things?
Kyle Franzoni: I think Dickey is definitely due to rebound, similar to how he did a year ago. Drew Hutchison has also shown some solid signs in his first season back from Tommy John surgery. I think Dustin McGowan is starting to figure it out as well. The spot that scares me is most is the 5th spot in the rotation. J.A. Happ is not the answer and could lose his spot in his next turn through. That leaves Todd Redmond or Marcus Stroman, and on the outside Liam Hendriks and Sean Nolin, who could take that spot. It’s definitely a weakness, and one you would have hoped the team had addressed this past offseason.
Wahoo’s on First: Do you think Brett Lawrie is ever going to put it all together and become the type of player everyone thought he could become? His power numbers look good so far this season, 6 home runs and 21 RBI, but the .229 average and .276 OBP is a little discouraging. WHat’s your take on his performance?
Kyle Franzoni: Lawrie was starting to figure it out a bit before his hamstring bit him a bit during the Pittsburgh series. However, he still lacks the patience that you’d want from him to reach that next level. The Jays have talked about moving him to second recently, and I think his offensive skills play a lot better at the keystone than they do at the corner.
Wahoo’s on First: How do you see this series playing out?
Kyle Franzoni: I’d like to think the Blue Jays can take 2 of 3 in this series, as they did in April. The key is getting solid starts from Dickey and McGowan in the first two games and hoping that Happ (of whoever gets the start in game 3) can be serviceable. The Indians can explode when they need to, so it should be an interesting match-up.