Do Blue Jays Have No Choice But to Use Aaron Loup?


It’s easy to point fingers in times of struggle. And, in the game of baseball, it might be even easier to pinpoint the exact play or moment where things went wrong. In Saturday’s game against the Royals, the Blue Jays found themselves down 0-2 in the ALCS. And, there are definitely some players staring at the wrong end of some fingers. While some have given Ryan Goins a hard time about abandoning a pop up, others are raging about Aaron Loup.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

In the 8th inning, manager, John Gibbons, brought Loup into the game to face some left handed batters in Eric Hosmer, Kendrys Morales (a switch hitter) and Mike Moustakas. It was the right move. Let’s just set aside the fact that the Blue Jays were already down at that point. Loup’s performance was bad. Really bad. It was still the right move. Loup walked Hosmer, Morales walked and Moustakas hit a single to RF. A run scored. And, it was still the right move. Or, so it would seem.

It didn’t work out for Loup, Gibby or the Blue Jays. But, it was the right move because, in Gibby’s eyes, it was the only move. Loup is the only left handed option out of the bullpen. The Blue Jays lost Brett Cecil to a calf injury in the ALDS. He’s working hard to come back from that. For Blue Jays fans, he can’t come back quick enough. He’s by far the better option, here. He’s been one of the best relievers in baseball over the last few months. We need him. Without him, Loup is the only choice we have when Gibby chooses to play the matchups.

The matchups tell you that you send a left handed pitcher up against left handed batters. But, for Loup, that might not be such a good idea. See, righties and lefties have both hit .275 against him this year. In fact, lefties have a better OBP of .342. Their slugging rate is much lower than righties, so perhaps there is some benefit: he hasn’t given up the big hits.

More from Toronto Blue Jays News

Perhaps, it is time to look elsewhere for help in these all important playoff games. Perhaps depending on a guy just because basic thought tells you to should be abandoned for a closer look at matchups. For example, the right handed Ryan Tepera has held left handed batters to a .137 average and a much lower slugging percentage. His 2015 sample size of righties and lefties is practically equal. This is not to suggest that Tepera is THE answer, but a shift in thinking could make him a possibility.

Tepera does not have as lengthy a resume as Loup and he certainly has not become one of Gibby’s boys. At this point, seeing Loup as the only option might be short sighted. And, it might cost you the series. Loup has struggled this year. He was demoted to AAA. And, yet he is still the “go to” guy. But, there are certainly other options. Wouldn’t it make more sense to go with a good right handed option than a poor left handed one just because the batter is left handed. Good pitching will beat good hitting regardless of the plate.

And, that is the problem here. The Blue Jays cannot operate as they’ve always done. They cannot afford to stick with what seems like “conventional” thinking. Outs are outs. And, they need them. Aaron Loup did not provide them on Saturday night. That is not to say that he won’t be effective ever again. But, we should also not be so automatic to jump to him when playing matchups.

It is odd that when talking about lefty arms, we go from Aaron Loup right to David Price as though these are the only two options. The Blue Jays have a very good bullpen. We should not be jumping right to using a starter. Instead, perhaps an expansion of thinking is in order. Perhaps, relying on one guy and trying to make it work should be abandoned. Doing what you’ve always done has gotten you where you are, it can be said. But, where you are is not good enough. You need to reach a much loftier goal.

Next: Has Jamaal Charles Lost a Step?

More from Jays Journal