The Blue Jays may have dropped two of three to Yankees while they were in New York, but it wasn’t because of the performance of the bullpen.
With more juggling going on in the rotation as Clayton Richard hits the Injured List and Edwin Jackson returns to the big club with his 12.43 ERA, the bullpen will continue to be tested down the stretch.
They answered the bell this weekend to begin the second half, allowing just two runs over 12 innings at Yankee Stadium without closer Ken Giles, after a massage left him with nerve inflammation.
Not only did the bullpen work seven innings of one run ball to secure the win after Richard departed the game Saturday, but throughout the entire weekend they struck out 13 and walked just three.
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It’s always a positive to see the bullpen come through especially with a rotation that lacks depth and boasts several injuries, but it feels even more reassuring when it comes against one of baseball’s most high-powered offences.
26-year-old Justin Shafer was the only reliever to appear in multiple games in the Bronx, pitching 2.1 innings and allowing just one hit, no walks and striking out two. Shafer has been up and down between Triple-A Buffalo and the big leagues since early June, and after this weekend he’s dropped his ERA down to 2.61 over 11.2 innings this year.
The Blue Jays bullpen has been utilized the fourth most in baseball heading into Sunday and that’s no surprise considering the team’s starters boast an ERA of 5.35, which is the fifth highest in the league.
They don’t feature any superstars and even their go-to guy in Giles wasn’t a sure thing entering the 2019 campaign, but what they’ve been able to contribute this season has been much needed.
Despite the Giles injury that has him day-to-day, it’s likely he will be moved in the next couple weeks and Daniel Hudson could draw some interest as well. The dynamic of the bullpen could be very different heading into August and it will be difficult to repeat the respectable first half they posted without Giles working the ninth inning.