Blue Jays: Is there something wrong with Osuna?
Roberto Osuna had another rough outing on Sunday, blowing a save opportunity against the Houston Astros that could have given the Blue Jays a series victory. Once again, he didn’t quite look like himself, as he shied away from using his fastball.
The Blue Jays blew another opportunity to win a close game on Sunday, and this time there was an unlikely goat to shoulder the loss. Among all of the struggling Blue Jays this year, Roberto Osuna has been one of the few to shine with his individual performance, but unfortunately the law of averages caught up to him on Sunday, as Houston was able to come back in the ninth inning.
If it were just one outing, most people would be willing to chalk it up to a good team getting to a great pitcher. It happens once in awhile in baseball, even when the best are on the mound. He looked okay during his outing on Saturday, but on Sunday he was roughed up for four earned runs and six hits, while recording just two outs. The Blue Jays entered the inning with a three run lead, and ended up losing by a score of 7-6.
Back on July 31, the All-Star closer game up three hits and two earned runs against the Chicago White Sox, after having been knocked around for three runs by the Angels two nights before that on the 29th. Entering the game on the 29th of July he had an ERA of 1.91, and after Sunday’s implosion it now sits at 3.47.
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Pitchers occasionally go through cold stretches just like hitters do, but in Osuna’s case it’s been a different approach that should raise the most alarms. On Sunday, he threw 22 pitches and went to his fastball just five times. For a young flamethrower who thrives with his heater as his best pitch, it’s a curious approach to take.
The same issue arose early in the season, when he was not so coincidentally struggling in much the same fashion. He admitted to reporters at the time that he needed to trust his fastball more, which is what he’s done for the better part of his successful season this year. When you have a weapon like that, it’s generally best if you use it as much as you can.
And yet on Sunday he only threw the fastball fives times, and when he did, it didn’t exactly go well. In fact, check out this tweet from former Jays Journal editor, Keegan Matheson, now with MLB.com.
After the game, Osuna admitted to reporters that his fastball command and velocity were a little off, but also reassured fans that he didn’t believe there was any health issues to be concerned about.
Hopefully that’s exactly the case, and this will just be a blip on the radar of an otherwise brilliant season. An off day will do him some good, and perhaps John Gibbons should consider him an extra day or two as well in order to re-fuel the tank.
Assuming there’s nothing physically wrong with him, the talented closer will bounce back soon, especially if he’s utilizing his fastball. Without it, it’s pretty difficult to get major league hitters out.