Jun 12, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang (67) throws during the fifth inning against the Texas Rangers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays June Success Sparked By Pitching

Don’t look now, but the Toronto Blue Jays are finally on a run. Perhaps there is hope for this team yet!

After Sunday’s finale in Texas, and a four-game sweep to boot, Toronto is officially winners of five in a row for the first time since the 2011 season. More importantly, the Blue Jays are 9-4 during the month of June and have crept to within 8.5 games of first place in the American League East, 5.5 games of the Wild Card, and 4 games of .500.

And they have their starting pitching to thank for their success this month.

As you can see below, the starting pitching has been consistent throughout the month, getting solid starts from each of the five starters thus far in June.

Pitcher – ERA/WHIP/K’s/Walks
Rogers – 1.38/0.85/7/3
Buehrle – 1.80/1.10/12/4
Johnson – 3.00/1.25/10/4
Wang – 3.14/1.54/8/5
Dickey – 3.79/1.32/8/6

Esmil Rogers has been a relief (no pun intended) for the rotation. Despite his limited innings, he has been solid during those starts, and has been getting better as they stretch him out more. That was all capped by an exceptional performance on Thursday, when he outdueled Yu Darvish by throwing seven innings of one-run ball.

Mark Buehrle has seen his season turn around in the matter of just three starts and has appeared to be the pitcher that Toronto thought they were getting in the November trade with Miami.

Chien-Ming Wang, Josh Johnson, and R.A. Dickey have been more than servicable during June as well, doing just enough to keep their team in games and allow for he bats to carry them.

But the success doesn’t sit with just the starting rotation. The bullpen has outstanding as well, if not completely dominant.

Pitcher – App/ERA/WHIP/K’s
Cecil – 5/0.00/0.00/7
Delabar – 5/0.00/1.60/8
Loup – 5/0.00/0.53/7
Wagner – 7/1.35/1.20/3
Perez – 3/0.00/1.31/4
Janssen – 5/3.86/1.29/3
McGowan - 3/3.86/1.71/2

The success of the bullpen has accentuated the recent performance of the starters, giving the Blue Jays a meaningful bridge to the win rather than consistently playing mop-up duty. The added pressure of closing out ballgames has seemed to been minimal on a group that has been performing well all season.

And the good news gets better. With Jose Reyes on the mend and soon to rejoin the team, the team is getting healthier and the offense will be close to full strength. Getting that in line with a pitching staff that is finally coming around could be the key to Toronto’s full turn-around and possibly allowing them to seriously reenter the playoff picture.

But for now, we can revel in one piece of the puzzle finally falling into place. And we can hope for the continued emergence of that missing piece.

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