The following is a guest post from huge Yankee fan and friend of Yankeeist Eric Mollo. Mollo previously bantered with me last October about whether it made sense for Joe Girardi to keep starting Jose Molina in the playoffs.
Hold your horses. I will be the first to admit that I underestimated Toronto this year, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. Toronto's pitching has been excellent. Shaun Marcum, Ricky Romero and Brett Cecil have been getting it done while being supported by a Major League-leading .475 team slugging percentage. I do think their pitching is going to hold up better than it has in the past (assuming they stay healthy), but I predict their hitting will slow down.
Quite simply, they are beating the teams they are supposed to beat. Thus far they have only won series against the Rangers, Orioles, White Sox, Royals, Athletics and Indians -- not exactly the cream of the crop. If you look at their first two months they have been very streaky, winning four or 5 in a row, losing four or 5, winning three, losing three. I think their lack of consistency is going to eventually catch up to them.
They have been pounding the heck out of the ball, with six players currently slugging over .500 (Adam Lind & Lyle Overbay are just under .400 and Travis Snider is at .483). However, the team is not hitting for average at all -- the highest batting average on the Jays belongs to Vernon Wells at .307 and then Fred Lewis at .305, which is followed by a slew of terrible averages.
The Blue Jays' team batting average is .247, good for 25th in the Majors. As an aside, the Astros are dead last with a .233 team average. No wonder Roy Oswalt considers the Nationals a contender. Toronto also leads the AL in strikeouts.
I am making the not-so-bold prediction that the slugging will come back down to earth, the strikeouts will catch up to them, and the low team average will begin to bite them as they face teams with winning records, consistent pitching and high-OBP strategies.
Here is Toronto's record against the AL East:
2-3 vs. Rays
1-5 vs. Red Sox
6-0 vs. Orioles
0-0 vs. Yankees
I look forward to the Yankees heading to the Rogers Centre this weekend to set things straight. It's time to give our perennial Canadian punching bags a dose of reality.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images.