It may not be time to panic quite yet, but it is already perilously close to that for the Smoke Eaters.
Last place in the division, third worst in the BCHL in goals allowed despite what early on seemed an upgrade between the pipes, and prone to giving up large portions of periods and games – meaning goals in bunches – since the opening weekend, are among the items in this early season that do not bode well for a, “must have,” post season achievement.
On the plus side is the fact only one team, (Merritt, one of only two teams that has been worse defensively) is scoring at a higher clip than the Smoke Eaters, so if Trail can find a way to tighten up, even just a bit, on defense there will still be a lot of hope involved for Smokie fans.
It is, of course, very early on, but signs of improvement must appear quickly for supporters to arrive hopeful (or in the required numbers for the bottom line) at Cominco Arena.
The next home game is Oct. 9. Not too soon, one hopes, for positive signs to emerge.
• I cannot be the only one who is wondering why all the euphoria in Toronto. Beating out a crippled Yankee squad for the east division title is, at best, a minor accomplishment. Resting on those laurels instead of pushing ahead with their strongest effort to win the American League, is nothing short of idiocy.
The Blue Jays, with continued effort, have the opportunity to ensure home-field advantage for as far into the playoffs as they can go, including the World Series, by winning the league. Instead, apparently so their stars can party hardy till the playoffs start, they seem willing to field B teams the rest of the way (four more games including Thursday, when this was submitted) through the regular season.
It is nice, nothing more, that the Blue Jays have gotten off the post season schneid. What would be really nice would be winning the top seed in the league, which would mean:
Their first round opponent would be a wild card team that has already burned a start from its ace (best of five series are always dicey, but that ace-against-second starter could be decisive, especially if it happens twice);
Their first round opponent would not be the Texas Rangers, who have performed essentially the same feat – surging from a double digit division deficit to winning their division – as the Blue Jays this season, have a veteran-heavy lineup, will be coming in at least as hot as the Jays and will have a rested and ready rotation for game one. The Rangers, by the way, have actually been better on the road than at home this season.
The Blue Jays have a little depth, and resting David Price for more than a full week may not backfire, but not making their best effort, with their best players, to win the AL is almost sure to hurt a team that has been much, much better at home than on the road this year.
I would like to see the Dodgers over the Blue Jays in the world series, and even the reverse of that scenario would not be a bad season outcome, but the attitude of, “Joe Cool,” Gibbons, who already blew last season’s attempt at the post season through poor game/pitching management in the last 2014 month, does not inspire me with confidence that that outcome will be forthcoming.
The Jays have done not much so far, despite erasing a 22 year failure streak, and resting rather than working optimally should not be their preferred course of action for the next three days, however relaxed their on field boss seems to be about the whole thing.