Seemingly perennial Playoff teams in the AL and NL, the Blue Jays and the Giants have gotten off to absolutely horrific starts this 2017 MLB Regular Season with Toronto and San Francisco surprisingly having MLB’s two worst records.
Last Major League Baseball season, the Blue Jays (89-73) and Giants (87-75) both made the Postseason and rewarded their fans with impressive years despite playing in the AL East and NL West, two of the toughest divisions in The Big Leagues. But so far in 2017, it’s been nothing but ugly for Toronto (10-19, .345 winning percentage) and San Francisco (11-19, .367) after play Friday where the Giants are in Cincinnati on Saturday for Game 2 of a 3-game series (Over 11-2 L13 in series) against the Reds (4:10 p.m. ET; CIN -121, BetDSI) as they continue a testing 9-game Road trip (LAD-CIN-NYM) which will test (PT to ET) Los Gigantes California Body Clocks—while the Blue Jays, holders of MLB’s worst Record were in Tampa for a 3-game AL East series against the Rays and in the midst of their own little 6-game Road swing (NYY-TBD).
So why exactly are Toronto and San Francisco struggling so much and why may the coming Spring and summer months be unkind to these two teams who have done so well the last decade? Let’s make a pot of coffee and hop into in The Lab and chew on simple numbers and explain why quick recoveries might not be in the cowhide cards for these two teams.
Blue Jays: Canada’s Only Team Swam in Maple Syrup in April
The Blue Jays (85/1 to win World Series, BetDSI) saw slugger Edwin Encarnación sign with the Indians (+650, GTBets) in the Offseason but so far everyone is to blame on Manager John Gibbons AL East team who may be looking up at the Rays (15-16), Red Sox (15-14), Orioles (18-10) and upstart Yankees (18-9), who have the best Record in the AL after beating the Cubs, 3-2 at Wrigley Field on Friday, with the Bronx Bombers scoring 3 Runs in their top half of the 9th Inning. So even with an 8-4 win against Tampa, Toronto still has worst Record in MLB (10-19). Into Friday, Marcus Stroman—who left last Friday’s game with the Yankees with tightness in his right armpit but is scheduled to make his next Start—and the Toronto (5-11 Road) Pitching Staff ranked 14th in MLB in Quality Starts (13), 21st in ERA (4.44) and an embarrassing 26th in Batting Average (.260) and WHIP (1.40), although overall, it’s hard to get mad at current numbers of Stroman (3.89 ERA), JA Happ (1.13 WHIP), Marco Estrada (2.43 ERA,. 1.14 WHIP and Francisco Liriano (9.93 K/9 IP).
The Blue Jays (4-8 Home) Offense has disappointed so far with Kevin Pillar (.302) and usually hard-hitting Toronto ranking a paltry (Tied for) 23rd in Runs (107) and On Base Average (.295), 24th in Batting Average (.235) and 27th in Slugging (.369) heading into Game 2 on Saturday. The departure of Encarnación is one thing, but the productivity from usual sluggers like Troy Tulowitzki (.263, HR, 10 RBI) and José Bautista (.199, 2 HRs, 9 RBI) is a big reason this team—which lost to Cleveland in the ALCS in 2016—seems in trouble.
Giants: When the San Diego Padres Have a Better Record Than You...
Eleventh-year Manager Bruce Bochy brought championships to The City By The Bay in 2010, 2012 and 2014 and the gritty Giants (50/1 to win World Series, 5Dimes) were an NL-best 57-33 at the All-Star Break last season but went an uncharacteristic 30-42 in the 2nd Half, still making the Playoffs as a Wild Card and before losing to the Cubs in the NLDS. But making the Playoffs this season seems almost impossible now after an 11-19 start, with ace Madison Bumgarner recovering from a second degree left shoulder ACL strain injury sustained on a dirtbike, and the Giants (20/1 to win NL West, BetVictor) NL West counterparts the Diamondbacks (17-13) and Rockies (18-11) playing so well and possessing much stronger Offensive and lineups. And while the G-Men have gone 46-30 the L4 seasons vs. Arizona, SF is just 37-39 against Colorado. The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook here in Sin City opened San Francisco (22/1 to win NL, Bovada) at 8/1 to win the NL on Oct. 23, 2016.
The Giants look to veterans Buster Posey and Hunter Pence for leadership and power but the evolution of guys like Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik and Brandon Belt has been painfully slow and the Starting and Relief Pitching are an issue. Into Friday, Johnny Cueto (above) and San Francisco (5-10 Road) ranked an impressive 3rd in MLB in Quality Starts (16) but were 12th in WHIP (1.28), 16th in (opponent’s) Batting Average (.247) and 24th in ERA (4.52) before getting shelled, 13-3, allowing 12 ER on 16 Hits—a painful 9 ER and 10 Hits off RHP Matt Cain who saw his ERA jump to 4.70—to the Little Red Machine Friday night.
And with southpaw Bumgarner out, it could get uglier although RHP Jeff Samardzija (0-4, 5.03 ERA) had a great start in his last outing, going 8 IP against the Dodgers and allowing no Runs while striking out 11 in a No Decision. The Giants (6-8 Home) Offense has been more of a liability than its Pitching though, with Denard Span (.200) and San Francisco ranking an anemic 22nd in Runs (100) and Batting Average (.236), 27th in On Base Average (.295) and 29th in Slugging (.347). This lineup could really use a Willie Mays, Willie McCovey or Barry Bonds right about now and it’s safe to say this team will actually miss SP Bumgarner’s bat in the lineup.