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Blue Jays News: Ryan Tepera in for Injured Brett Cecil

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The Toronto Blue Jays lost more than the game on Friday. Brett Cecil tore his calf muscle and is out for the remainder of the ALDS, for sure. And if the Blue Jays advance, he likely won’t return. It was certainly not a pleasant site to watch one of the longest tenured Blue Jays end his postseason experience in such a manner. For the club, it removes one of their most potent bullpen arms when they’re fighting for their playoff lives. In order to fill the spot, they are going to bring in Ryan Tepera.

In 32 big league innings this season, Tepera has put up a 3.27 ERA.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

He’s given up 12 earned runs in that span and has struck out just 17.2% of batters he’s faced while walking 4.7%. This might not exactly be the best replacement for Cecil’s 32.7% K rate and 6.1% walk rate. But, let’s be honest. If there was a replacement that could equal that, he would have already been with the club.

Instead, they get a guy who spent just as much time in AAA as he did with the big league club. He had good success with the Buffalo Bisons in his 34 innings. His 1.06 ERA certainly suggests that. The Blue Jays have to like that he’s left 86.5% of runners on base. Really, he’ll be used to limit damage should the need arise. Given that the club is facing elimination, the need may never actually present itself.

The interesting part here is that Tepera is a right handed pitcher. That leaves Aaron Loup as the lefty specialist out of the bullpen. Given Cecil’s success, we have to see this as a downgrade. The good news is that Tepera has held lefties to a .137 average this season compared to a .235 mark for righties.

When Brett Cecil went down, some wondered if this would open the door for Mark Buehrle to be added to the playoff roster. Obviously, this is not the case. Buehrle certainly does bring another lefty option, but he’s not likely to match the “stuff” that a bullpen arm requires. Tepera, on the other hand, provides a 95mph fastball and a 90mph cutter. The cutter has been his best pitch this season, worth 2.2 runs above average (according to Fangraphs.com). In fact, it is difficult to imagine that Buehrle provides the Blue Jays with the option they need out of the ‘pen.

It would have been nice to see Buehrle added to the roster for sentimental reasons. But, when you’re fighting for your lives in the postseason, sentiment takes a backseat to necessity. Right now, the Blue Jays are in need of someone who can come in and strand runners. Of course, Tepera may never see any action in the ALDS, given the 2-0 deficit this club faces.

Next: Marco Estrada: Blue Jays Unlikely Swing Man

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