Last month I wrote “Why This Year Was the Best Shot For the Blue Jays…. & How They Blew It”. I implied in that article that if the Blue Jays had pitching, they would win. Well, turns out when the Blue Jays get good pitching, they win. Period. Six solid starting pitching performances in a row and they’ve won six straight. Not only have they won six straight, they did it against the Boston Red Sox and the team that held the best record in the Majors coming into Toronto in the Oakland Athletics. The starting pitching over the past week has been pretty good.
Over those six wins, Toronto’s starting pitching has gone 37.2 innings giving up 10 earned runs and striking out 29 while walking 11. However if you take out Happ’s start at the beginning of that streak and look at the last five starts, then you have 33.2 innings pitched, 6 earned runs, 23 strike outs and 9 walks. That’s an era of 1.60 over those last 5 starts. What has been even more of a positive sign than the rotation however has been the bullpen. When this bullpen is not overworked, it is effective. Over these last 6 games, Toronto’s bullpen has thrown 14.1 innings (approx 2.1 ip per game on average) and has allowed 5 earned runs, with 10 strike outs and just 3 walks. Which looks even better when we take out Esmil Rogers, who is no longer with the club. Without Rogers, the bullpen pitched 14 innings and allowed just 2 earned runs. Over that six game span. What is also encouraging: 1 hr allowed by the bullpen in 14 innings pitched at Rogers Centre.
When the pitching is present, this team will win. The problem is, I still don’t think we have enough starting pitching to get us through the season. We got a great performance from Hendriks and hopefully he can build on that. But he is young and we should expect some regression from him. Also don’t forget that Hutchison isn’t going to be able to pitch all year. One year removed from Tommy John, they will need to shut him down at some point.
I know it sounds like I’m playing a broken record or beating a dead horse here, but I really wish that Anthopoulos had delivered on his promise of more starting pitching in the offseason. If we had one or two more arms in this rotation right now, I feel The Jays would be in a much better position to keep fighting to stay atop the AL East.
What we need to do as Jays fans, is hope that this team is still in top spot come deadline day. Then maybe they will get something done to bring in at least one more arm. I just hope we still have enough trade chips still to get something accomplished at the deadline. I think it’s safe to say that we are no longer going to get Jeff Smardzija from the Cubs for just Stroman and Sanchez. Not with the year Smardzija and Stroman have each had respectively.
Toronto hopes to get to seven in a row when Tampa Bay comes to town tonight. Hutch gets the ball for Toronto and Tampa will counter with Canadian native Erik Bedard.
Here’s hoping that the pitching can keep it up. Because watching this team win sure is a lot of fun.
Navan Ontario native Erik Bedard has been having a bit of a bounce back season this year with Tampa Bay and is having a great month of May. In four starts he has 2 wins and one loss allowing only 2 earned runs over 23 innings with 18 K’s. As someone who follows all Canadian born players in MLB, I am excited to see him pitching so well. Having said that, I hope he isn’t too good tonight. ;)