Besides the joke that in a three-game series the Blue Jays can now have a Dickey, a Wang, and a Johnson out on the mound, the Jays signing of veteran starter, Chein-Ming Wong is a great low-risk move.
Wang, 33, posted a 2.33 ERA with 3.9 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9 in 58 innings for the Yankees’ triple-A affiliate this season, allowing just two homers along the way. He also fired 12 scoreless frames in this year’s World Baseball Classic. The Taiwanese sinker artist is represented by Octagon and has a 4.26 ERA in 765.1 innings between the Yankees and Nationals.
With a battered rotation, I really like this signing. In Wang, the Jays pick up a veteran guy who has had two 19-win seasons, proven success in the AL East, and all fro $500,000.
I know that he is not the same guy who used to have a mid-90s sinker. Now he has a low-90s sinker that sometimes doesn’t sink. But he has seemed to re-discover the sink to the pitch in triple-A this year and he can eat innings.
In his first start for the Jays, he went 7.1 innings allowing 10 hits and 5 runs. But of the 5 runs, 3 of them via a 3-run homer so it’s a bit misleading.
Wang goes today in a game vs. the Rangers where the Jays have a chance to sweep the 4th and final game. He’ll match up vs. lefty Derek Holland, so unfortunately the edge going to the Rangers today. But who knows, as GM Alex Anthopoulos said of the Wang signing “maybe we’ll catch lightning in a bottle” and Wang will turn out to be the cheapest way the Jays pick up wins all season. Remember, the guy is only 33.
For a team that needs to play over .600 to have a shot at the playoffs, going 3-4 on its most recent road trip just isn’t going to cut it. It’s tough, though, when the rotation is in tatters. But injuries or not, the Blue Jays need to win games.
Tomorrow the Jays return home for 3 vs. the Rangers. We have to go 2-1 which means we either need to beat Yu Darvish on Saturday (Mark Buehrle might just do it) or we need Esmil Rogers to step up big time in tomorrow’s series opener. While R.A. Dickey has been far from a lock so far this season, coming off a classic performance yesterday, I feel that the Jays should have a definite advantage when Dickey toes the rubber to close out the series on Sunday.
To win 90 games which would give the Jays roughly an 80% shot at the postseason, they have to go 65-38 the rest of the way (.631 baseball). Yikes.
Although a friend of mine reminded me that the A’s were under .500 at the allstar break last season and went on to win the AL West. Not an easy task. So it’s possible for the Jays to make a run.
I also saw an interesting stat in Sportsnet magazine. Every team has injuries, so it’s hard for fans, coaches, and players to use injuries as an excuse for the Blue Jays situation. But here is the stat: at May 10th (when the article was published), the Blue Jays had 10 players on the DL. To put that into some perspective, the Red Sox had 4, the Orioles 6, the Rays 3, and the Yankees a whopping 11. So the Jays can’t complain, right? The Yankees have just as many injuries, are still performing, and well into a divisional race.
WRONG! Of the Yankees on the DL, only 36% are pitchers. In fact, no team in the MLB has a higher percentage of pitchers on the DL if you take the DL’ed pitchers divided by the total players DL’ed on a team. The Jays are at 90%! Also, no team has more than 7 pitches on the DL other than the Jays (9 pitchers on the DL). Of the 11 Yankees on the DL, only 4 are pitchers (which is 2nd most in the AL East after Toronto).
We all know pitching is the key to success. And right now, the Jays pitching staff is hurting. Getting Josh Johnson back healthy is huge. Having Dickey pitch healthy is huge. Now we just need Brandon Morrow and J.A Happ to come back and we’ll be set to make a run. With the rotation healing, I’m not counting out a Blue Jays run just yet.