Blue Jays Morning Brew: Let the playoff push begin!


Good morning, Blue Jays fans, and welcome back to the Morning Brew. The Toronto Blue Jays are squarely in the middle of the AL East playoff picture, and the second half seems poised for a slugfest with the Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.

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Trade speculation will be the headlining act in July, and if it’s whispered, we’ll have analysis and reaction for you here at Jays Journal. Now, on to the Morning Brew, where we cast a wide net to bring you the best Blue Jays coverage from all corners of the web, covering everything from external trade targets to the struggles of the current rotation.

Osuna’s injury scare  –  Blue Jays fans collectively held their breath and reached for the adult beverages on Sunday when stud reliever Roberto Osuna seemed to be experiencing some discomfort on the mound. Gregor Chisholm of reveals that the minor back injury is likely nothing more than a cramp, however, and that Osuna may just require a day of rest.

“Well, I felt a cramp in the first pitch of the last inning, like a cramp in my lower back on the right side,” Osuna said following the game. “Nothing serious, just that … I didn’t feel like I had to get out of the game. I could pitch, and that’s what I did.”

Toronto will need to be careful to avoid riding Osuna too hard while still maximizing his impact as the team’s best relief option. The young righty has recorded a 2.13 ERA over 38.0 innings with 42 strikeouts on the season.

Also on Jays Journal: Prospect Roemon Fields is on the fast track

Drew Hutchison‘s yo-yo season  –  John Lott of the National Post offers up a great analysis of Drew Hutchison and his ugly first half.  Hutchison has suffered through uncharacteristic splits, road woes and overall inconsistencies that are largely due to his fastball control. According to Lott, however, there is reason to believe that things could change for the better.

“Opponents are hitting .350 against him when they put his pitches in play. Only one other pitcher – Nathan Eovaldi of the Yankees – has posted a higher figure,” writes Lott.  He also points to Hutchison’s puzzling ERA of 9.00 on the road, allowing 42 runs in 42.0 IP.

While this may not be the most inspiring idea, my simple opinion is that it’s very unlikely to get much worse for Hutchison. If his fastball can be reigned in and some balls that have dropped begin to find gloves, look for him to at least return to being an MLB-worthy pitcher in July.

Do the splits  –  Sticking with Hutchison, Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Star digs in to the previously mentioned home-and-away splits that are plaguing the 24 year old. John Gibbons is in his starter’s corner, and points to his 2014 success as reason for belief.

“There’s no doubt he’s struggled at times, but it’s not like he’s never had success up here. There’s a difference, a big difference. He has to keep working at it. I keep going back to last year (when he was fine on the road but struggled at home), then it turned for him and he finished really, really strong. There’s a huge difference between never having success and struggling. He’s had shutouts, complete games.”

Asked if Hutchison is actually throwing the baseball differently on the road, Gibbons hesitated to agree.   “No, no, nothing mechanically,” the Blue Jays manager said. “What happens to him, and you can lump everybody in the same category, when they’re not hitting their spots — it’s not enough to just throw strikes, you’ve got to be able to locate the ball unless you’re a guy that really overpowers somebody.”

Jays interested in Jason Grilli?  –  Scott Gelman of MLB Daily Dish takes a look at the report from Nick Cafardo that the Jays may be interested in the veteran reliever. While the match is intriguing, at this stage, it seems to be somewhat of a fluff rumor as the Braves have reportedly not made Grilli available yet.

The driving idea behind this link is that the 38 year old Grilli would provide a similar arm to Jonathan Papelbon or Tyler Clippard at a price that is easier for Alex Anthopoulos to stomach. Grilli will certainly be a B-level name to keep an eye on throughout July, but don’t rush out to buy his jersey quite yet.

Next: Josh Donaldson named All-Star Game starter

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