COMMENTARY | The 2013 season hasn't started the way the Toronto Blue Jays, or their fans for that matter, had hoped or expected.
Their pitching has struggled, the bats have been asleep at the plate, and early injuries to important players has led the team to a disappointing 8-11 start to the season that sees them at the bottom of the AL East. It has fans starting to panic and wonder just what is wrong with the Blue Jays.
However, there is hope that better times are just around the corner as a key player in the Jays' lineup is back -- and finally starting to settle back into the lineup.
Brett Lawrie was batting 2-19, a putrid .105 average, in his first five games since returning April 16 from a strained left oblique muscle that had fans wondering just whether or not he returned at the right time. On Sunday (April 21), Lawrie showed everyone that he just needed some time to get his groove back after missing over a month of action.
With the Jays down 4-3 to the New York Yankees, Lawrie smacked a ball to the outfield for a two-run double to give Toronto a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. The two-RBI double turned out to be the game-winning hit for the Jays on a day in which Lawrie went 2-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs and a run scored.
The 23-year-old Lawrie, while unable to completely replace the production that Jose Reyes would've given the team, will bring something that the former All-Star cannot. Lawrie will bring energy and excitement to a team that just always seems to look down and depressed during its early-season slump.
He will bring joy to the Blue Jays' dugout.
He will talk and root on his teammates, and celebrate every big play like it's the biggest play of his career -- flexing his arms and screaming, "Let's go!," after being hit home by Melky Cabrera on April 21.
Teammates will feed of that youthful excitement on a veteran team. They will see the joy that Lawrie has when he plays the game, and they will get excited about big plays, too. A happy team will lead to a better team that won't get down on itself when things aren't going its way.
Toronto still needs to figure out its pitching problems, having given up the second-highest run total (96) in the American League -- only the Houston Astros have given up more at 103. However, with Lawrie back in the fold and starting to find his rhythm, things will get better on the offensive side of things for the Jays sooner than later.
Michael Straw is a sportswriter who lives in Buffalo, NY and has been covering baseball, primarily at the Triple-A level, for two years. He began covering the Blue Jays in the fall of 2012, and has been published in multiple Western New York publications.
For Blue Jays and other sports news, follow Michael on Twitter @MikeStrawQCS.
- Sports & Recreation
- Toronto Blue Jays
- Brett Lawrie