It’s only a few weeks into the baseball season, and Toronto Blue Jays fans are not in full panic mode yet. The main reason being their team is not 2-9 like it was at this time last year. After back-to-back rain outs in Cleveland, the Jays sit at 9-5, good for second in the AL East behind the Boston Red Sox. With small expectations heading into the 2018 season, this is a lovely surprise for Jays fans. They have managed to put up 72 runs, good for eighth in the league. They have also only allowed 52 runs, which is not a surprise with the rotation serving as the strength of this team. The question now is whether they will be able to sustain this pace of play or not.
The Toronto Blue Jays 2018 Season So Far and Future Expectations
Josh Donaldson, Kendrys Morales Hit DL
Donaldson, Toronto’s star third baseman, was placed on the 10-day DL Friday, taking their best bat out of the line-up. Morales also hit the 10- day DL after hurting himself in an at-bat against the Texas Rangers. No one, not even Jays management, is sure of when these players will return which leaves a few holes in the batting order. Teoscar Hernandez was recalled from the Buffalo Bisons to take Donaldson’s spot. For the time being, he will start in left field with Curtis Granderson and Steve Pearce platooning in the DH role. This means Yangervis Solarte will take over third base for the time being. This new-look line up did not miss a beat when they defeated Cleveland 8-4 on Friday. They will look to continue those kind of performances against the lowly Kansas City Royals before heading into a four game series against the Yankees in New York.
After their series at Yankee Stadium, Toronto will head back to Rogers Centre to take on the Red Sox for three games. The Red Sox are off to their best start ever at 13-2 with no signs of slowing down. Chris Sale continues to pitch up to expectations, and their bats are firing on all cylinders. If the Blue Jays can manage to keep up with the Sox and squeak out two wins, that will be a huge statement on whether this team can compete with the top teams in the league.
The Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles should not put up much of a fight this season. The Rays are already 10 games back of the division lead, and Kevin Kiermaier will be out for some time, according to skipper Kevin Cash. The Orioles do not have much to offer in the way of pitching, outside of Dylan Bundy, and their bats are average. Luckily, the Jays will match up against these two teams 34 more times this season. In order to keep pace with the wildcard or division lead, they must win the majority of those games. If the struggles for the Rays and O’s continue, it will not be a problem for this Jays team.
Blue Jays Overall Forecast
Things are going so well right now, it’s easy to say the Jays will be in the mix come September. But for the foreseeable future, things are looking good. The keys to maintaining this success will include Hernandez, the newcomer, contributing with his bat. His spring numbers were great with a slash line of .358/.386/.698. If he can carry that over into the season, it will be a huge help to the Blue Jays in Donaldson’s absence. Another key to sustaining this success is the rotation continuing to stay healthy. The pitching staff is the backbone of this team. If 2017 proved anything, it’s that they cannot afford to lose one of their starters for an extended period of time. Once Donaldson is healthy again, and the Jays pitching staff stays in-tact and fully healthy, Jays fans can become more excited about this 2018 season.
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