Blue Jays 4, Cardinals 8
Blue Jays 4, Cardinals 6
I will admit to being a bit nervous about the Jays’ season. It’s still early, there’s still plenty of time, nobody is really out of it until at least thirty games…
…but oh my sweet maiden aunt, now Roberto Osuna is…not good.
I wrote a couple of weeks ago that if the Jays could begin to routinely score four runs a game then they’d probably be entirely fine for the season, and guess what? They scored four runs in each of their games yesterday and guess what? They lost both.
In the evening game they lost because Casey Lawrence was Casey Lawrence: it was pretty easy to predict that something very much like that was going to happen. But in the afternoon game Matt Latos (again!) looked just great, and the four runs the Jays gave him should have been enough. But…ugh…Osuna blew his third save of the season making him just three for six in attempts to close out games.
That is really really not good. In a bullpen where the only other “power arm” is forty year old Jason Grilli, having Roberto Osuna become human all of a sudden is just…ugh. I, of course, have no idea what is going on with Roberto, but neither does anyone else apparently, which is truly terrifying. There’s no shortage of theories, of course: lingering/undisclosed injury, not enough work in spring training, too much work in spring training, too much work in the World Baseball Classic, or (my personal favourite) Gregg Zaun’s neverending diatribe against the very idea of Osuna throwing his two-seamer. All I know is: Osuna’s velocity is down (which is bad), he’s missing his spots (which is worse), and when things are starting to wrong for him on the mound he is obviously being effected by it (which is the worst).
It really is hard to overstate just how horrific, terrifying and just plain old bad it would be should Osuna not be able to return to something like his old form and really soon. If the Jays can’t close out close games (which is all they are capable of playing right now and possibly for the rest of the season) then there is literally no hope whatsoever of them turning things around. If Osuna simply falls apart then they will be lucky to reach .500 at any point this season.
It wasn’t all doom and gloom in the double-header, of course: Kevin Pillar continues his quest for actual greatness, José Bautista and Russell Martin both kept putting up hits to nudge their numbers a bit closer to something that might almost be OK, and there was the aforementioned very good outing by Matt Latos who is really looking like a great off season pick-up. But…
Donaldson and Tulo are still hurt, the offensive gains by Martin, Bautista and Travis are there but not dramatic…and now Osuna is looking terribly, horribly human.
I still stand by the idea that you can’t make any firm predictions about a season until at least thirty games have been played. But the Jays only have eight more games until they hit that landmark, and even if they win every single one of those they’ll still be just fourteen and sixteen for the season, which wouldn’t be terrible, but it’s still really bad. And to even get to that, they’ll have to do it without Donaldson, without Tulo, without Happ, and now without the dominant Roberto Osuna the team’s come to depend on.
Back when I was a reporter for a very small paper, one of the first things I learned is that when you’re filing a story you indicate that you’ve reached the end of your piece by typing “–30–” at the bottom of the last page, or just saying, “That’s a thirty” if you were dictating it over the phone (which I never did, but they told us that anyway, I think because it was just a cool thing to think about, being like those reporters from the old movies shouting their stories down the horns of those old telephones. I sometimes wonder if reporters still do that, but I doubt it, and suspect that they are now required to type, edit, upload and format their stories themselves with but passing aid of an editor. But I digress.)
At any event, I’m put in mind of this for one simple reason: that for a long time now I have associated the number thirty with endings. It may just be that for the Blue Jays this season, thirty games is just about all they’re going to have in which to even dream of making the playoffs.
The countdown, she is on…