Back To Your Regularly Scheduled Programming
Ok, I’m back. Before moving along to all your Jays minutae needs, I’m going to go on a bit about that pretty little table that Rance tossed up for y’all (oh no, now I’m doing it) yesterday. This year it has been impossible to read a series/season preview of the Jays without hearing the myth that they tend to play tough against good teams, but have a letdown against teams they should be beating. And that little thing completely rips that idea apart.
We’re not even talking some fancy dancy statty argument with a fancy acronym. Step 1: find Jays record against other teams. Step 2: compare to how well those teams play overall. I took the last three years so we’re looking at roughly the same team but not as ridiculous a sample size. The sort of thing that you’d think any self-respecting journalist would get someone to confirm before reporting on it, no?
Anyway, the “tough time” that the Rays always give the Jays? Over the last three years it amounts to absolutely nothing. The Jays bearing down against the Yankees? Uhhh…they’ve actually played worse against them than the rest of the league. The only teams that have really owned the Jays above and beyond how they usually play are Cleveland (who are pretty good, yes?) and Texas, who the Jays swept in their first series this season.
The only evidence for the Jays playing better against good teams are that they have been killing the Angels (hmm, I thought their exciting style of play trumped ol’ station to station, and what about all those SB allowed that are such a problem??) and played well against Boston.
I know, I know…you will remember that sweep at the hands of Tampa Bay last season right when it looked like things were looking up for the rest of your natural life. And it seemed like they should have been on a emotional high but came out flat. But that’s baseball. Lousy teams beat good teams all the time, and even putting together a little sweep isn’t that unlikely. It’s also human nature to see patterns where there are none, and come to conclusions that predict the future based on not enough information. There’s just nothing there- take a step back and the Jays record against the rest of the league is almost bizarrely in line with how good an opponent they are.