Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Toronto Blue Jays
The Blue Jays have started their descent into last place. They are only 3 games out of first, but this may be the point of the season where things start to resemble what the season will look like. Teams will start falling into their places. Hopefully, this is not the case for the Blue Jays, but there just doesn’t seem to be improvement in sight. The pitching has not been effective. The offense has yet to click together. The only saving grace is the defense, but that is not enough.
Starting Pitching- D
This grade is easy to justify. Outside of Mark Buehrle (4-1), there is not a Jays starter who has more than a single win. Again, Buehrle is the only starter who’s ERA (2.16) is under 3. Let’s remember that because Buehrle is the picture of consistency, that also means he will come back to his normal season levels. The starting staff is averaging just over 5 innings per start. That’s it! It is like the starters think they are still in Spring Training where they do not have to go many innings. Well, sort of, it might seem like that if they weren’t running their pitch counts so high. 80-90 pitches to get to the 5th is not going to help you last in a game. As well, the starters have walked 58 batters and given up 132 hits! Their WHIP sits at 1. 53. The complete inability of 4/5 of the rotation to provide anything resembling quality starts is also hurting the bullpen. Because John Gibbons has to go to the pen earlier, they get tired.
I actually feel bad for the Jays’ bullpen. The starters are not making life easy for them. The bullpen has been asked to pitch almost 86 innings thus far. That just isn’t right. Except, they aren’t making life easy for themselves. They have not been throwing strikes. They’ve allowed 50 walks to start the season. While it is easy to blame the starters and say “The bullpen is just overworked”, it isn’t all that fair. The pen still has to come in and throw strikes. They aren’t. This is exemplified in the 5 Lgr (losses in relief) and 3 BSv (blown saves). This alone shows that if the bullpen had done its job, they Jays could have 8 more wins. 8! Instead of last, they’d be well in first!