Six games into the 2013 MLB season and the Toronto Blue Jays have already lost four times.

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. This year’s Blue Jays were expected to roar to the World Series without looking back. They were overhauled in the summer to dominate. Four losses wasn’t supposed to be a bad opening week, it was supposed to be a bad month.

On Sunday afternoon at the Rogers Centre, the Jays weren’t just beaten by the Boston Red Sox – they were throttled, embarrassed and humiliated. The final score was 13-0, against a team that they were supposed to beat; a team their manager had abandoned them for before GM Alex Anthopolous restocked the shelves. A team most pundits expect to finish no better than fourth in the AL East.

This early-season series against the Sox was supposed to be series in which the Jays showed the world that they’re all grown up. Instead, they were hand-slapped and humbled, like a teenager being told he isn’t ready to drive the family car yet.

So … at what point are Jays fans supposed start panicking?

“I think you try to draw from some of the past experiences and know that a day like today is the anomaly, not the norm,” said pitcher R.A. Dickey, the crown jewel of the Jays’ off-season remake following the Boston loss.

That’s easy for Dickey to say, considering how the Sox went off on him Sunday afternoon. The Jays’ new ace – now 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA – was essentially a glorified batting-cage pitcher on Sunday, lobbing softies to the Sox hitters who shelled him for seven runs on 10 hits before he was booed off the field midway through the fifth inning.

“You certainly try to forget about it as soon as you can,” Dickey said. “Throughout the course of the season, you’re going to have a clunker or two that you try to forget about as soon as you can.”

Unfortunately, Dickey’s not the only high-priced pitcher who’s been throwing clunkers – the Jays have given up 12 home runs so far this year, tops in the American League. And yes, that does include the Houston Astros, who are essentially fielding a Triple-A squad.

The team’s offense hasn’t been setting the world on fire, either. They’ve scored 22 runs on 45 hits – good for just 13th in the 15-team American League, despite a 10-run outburst in Game No. 3 against Cleveland.

So, should we start panicking? Jays’ manager John Gibbons, who has been Mr. Relaxation so far this year, doesn’t think so.

“I don’t sense that we feel pressure, to be honest with you,” he said in his press conference following Sunday’s disaster.

Maybe he should. The Jays now hit the road to play a three-game set against the AL’s best team last year, the Detroit Tigers, and three against the revamped Kansas City Royals. It’s a very realistic prospect that the team could be 4-8 when they return home to face the Chicago White Sox on April 15.

Then can we panic?

“I think real fans understand that it is indeed a marathon,” Dickey said Sunday. “We certainly aren’t leading the marathon at this point, but we have a lot of mileage to go. We’ve got a good ball club. There’s a lot of guys in here that have gotten off to some slow starts, myself included, and it’s only going to get better.”

What is worrisome is how Toronto’s fans will react to a prolonged slump to start the season. There’s little question the team increased its payroll to $117 million based on the prospect that a winning team would result in more fans at the games, and subsequently more revenue to pay those salaries.

But few fans have been teased and disappointed over the years more than Jays fans, who haven’t experienced a playoff game since 1993. Given the unprecedented, over-hyped expectations going into this season, the prospect of yet another disappointing, losing season would be disastrous to attendance, team revenues, and the future of the ball club in Toronto.

And then it would be time to panic.

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The Toronto sporting fan again was treated to the infamous "Toronto Sports team mirage" all talk and no results....season in and season out.....ask any Maple Leaf fan over 45 years (post 67)
The Toronto sporting fan again was treated to the infamous "Toronto Sports team mirage" all talk and no results....season in and season out.....ask any Maple Leaf fan over 45 years (post 67)
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