Blue Jays and the bullpen blues
By Joshua Giles
It might be time to hit the panic button when what appears to be one of the only bright spots on the team is struggling more than they have all year.
After Tyler Clippard gave up 3 walks and 4 earned runs to the Los Angeles Angels the Jays bullpen we know and love might have just hit rock bottom. The Blue Jays have gone a whopping 2-8 out of their last ten games and a lot of people, including me, are looking at the pitching. Especially the bullpen.
The biggest problem is the starting pitching. The starters aren’t producing and going long enough which will then in turn tire out the bullpen.
It’s not really fair to put that much weight on a bullpen when a starter is expected to go at least, on average, 6 innings in a game. Let’s take a look at how long the starters have lasted in the past 10 games:
Marco Estrada, Red Sox, May 12- 6 innings
Joe Biagini, Red Sox, May 13- 4.2 innings
Jaime Garcia, Mets, May 15- 3.2 innings
J.A. Happ, Mets, May 16- 7 innings
Aaron Sanchez, Athletics, May 17- 4 innings
Marco Estrada, Athletics, May 18- 6.2 innings
Sam Gaviglio, Athletics, May 19- 5.1 innings
Joe Biagini, Athletics, May 20- 4 innings
J.A. Happ, Angels, May 22- 7 innings
Aaron Sanchez, 5 innings, May 23- 5 innings
For a grand total of 53.1/90.
That is pretty close to giving half of the game to 8 guys… every day… all who have much less stamina.
How to fix it
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The starters need to start going the distance. The only real constant in the Jays rotation is J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada. If it weren’t for them going 6-7 innings each game the bullpen would’ve run out of gas weeks ago.
Many of the Blue Jays’ “go to” arms are being used so much that they don’t have much left to give. Watching Clippard try to get a save off the Angels was tough. He was throwing all he had but he just couldn’t find the zone. And when he did finally find it they would crack a hit off of him.
Clippard isn’t the only arm struggling. John Axford has a 9.53 ERA over his past 7 appearances. Danny Barnes has a 5.06 ERA over the past seven. Ryan Tepera is doing pretty good but he’s still seeing a lot of action and weirdly enough Aaron Loup hasn’t given up a run in his past 7 showings (kudos). On top of it, the closer that is supposed to be the anchor for the team is on extended leave and my guess is we won’t see him for the rest of the season.
Next: Blue Jays: 10 Minor Leaguers off to impressive starts
The root of the problem is mostly the people who start the games. Other than Happ. He’s the pitcher who has produced the only 2 wins in the past 10 games. But winning 1 out of 5 games won’t cut it in Major League Baseball.
We need starters who last longer so our bullpen can flourish instead of flounder.