I guess this editorial in today’s Globe and Mail is addressed to people like me – people who just never understand what a great manager Cito Gaston is.
Now look, I’m as happy as anybody to see the Jays playing well. It fills my heart with joy that they’re 6-2 over their last eight. The players seem happier, and looser, and there is suddenly an air of optimism around the team. For all that Gaston deserves credit. But maybe, just maybe, this is the kind of editorial that should have waited until a little later in the season. Gaston has not yet been with this team for two weeks, and despite the recent run, we are left with some rather daunting realities.
For instance: the Jays are still 10 games out of first in the AL East, with 78 games left to play. Let’s say the Jays can play .600 ball from here on out. that would be very good, and that would mean a 47-31 record the rest of the way, and would leave them 14 games over .500 at the end of the season. right now Tampa Bay (!)
is 18 games over, so in order to catch them, they would have to lay a major egg and go 37-41 the rest of the way for our re-charged Blue Jays to catch them. Boston right now is 15 games over, so we’d have to hope for a sub-.500 second half from them too. Stranger things have happened, but not many.
As for the Wild Card, the picture isn’t much more promising. The Jays are 8.5 games out of the WC spot. More importantly, there are SEVEN teams between the Jays and that spot. Does anybody want to bet that the Jays will have a better second half than the Red Sox, A’s, Twins, Yankees, Tigers, Rangers and Orioles?
I would LOVE to see the jays go on a real tear. But that’s what it’ll take. I estimate it’s going to require a second half for the ages – a record of 50-28, a winning % of .641, to make a legitimate run at the playoffs. It IS possible. The second half is loaded with games against New York, Boston and Tampa
And, incidentally, this is a team that has managed to scratch out 3 runs in its last 18 innings, and still came away with two wins. The bats have looked better, yes. But the Jays can not make the playoffs if they’re a team that struggles to score two runs against the worst team in the American League as they did last night.
So yeah, welcome back Cito. You still have a lot to prove.