Blue Jays: Anthony Kay should get today’s start against the Royals
With T.J. Zeuch having to take Ross Stripling’s start against the New York Yankees yesterday, the Toronto Blue Jays currently have no pitcher slated to start the series opener against the Kansas City Royals. There is the potential that Stripling could pitch today as he isn’t on the injured list and could be feeling better from his forearm tightness, but if he heads to the IL, then there’s one pitcher Charlie Montoyo should consider for the spot start.
Acquired in the Marcus Stroman trade with the New York Mets in 2019, Anthony Kay has spent the past two seasons pitching in both AAA and on the active roster. Used as both a starter and as a reliever (or following an opener) since joining the organization, the Blue Jays decided to keep Kay stretched out as a starter this season and he did not make the Opening Day roster as a result. Since joining the Jays, Kay has a 5.40 ERA over 16 appearances, throwing 35 strikeouts with 19 walks and a 1.600 WHIP over 35.0 innings of work. This spring, Kay appeared in five games and would pitch to a 4.61 ERA over 13.2 innings, striking out 12 and walking seven on route to a 1.390 WHIP.
If the Blue Jays plan to use Kay as a starter moving forward, a spot start against the Royals is a perfect opportunity to showcase his talents and see if he can contribute as a starter at the major league level.
The reason using Kay in this start makes sense is based on a few different reasons:
- A strong start could be beneficial if Ross Stripling has to go on the injured list, where he could fill in until his return with Tom Hatch and Nate Pearson still rehabbing from injury
- Keeps Tanner Roark from starting but still an option if Kay does struggle and the team needs a pitcher to go deep into the game
- Prevents the Blue Jays from having to use a bullpen day when multiple starting relievers are already on the injured list
- The Royals have a predominantly right-handed hitting lineup and Kay has better splits against right-handers for his career (opponents .241 batting average over 102 plate appearances).
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There are a few things that Anthony Kay will have to keep in control if he were to start against the Royals today.
One is his command, as he currently sports an 11.8% base on balls percentage and a 4.9 walks per nine innings, values that are a tad high for a major league starter. Over 35 innings, he has walked 19 batters and will need to control his pitches if he wants to pitch deeper into games and prevent runs from getting on base, as walks have been a bit of a crutch for the Jays this season when it comes to opposing teams scoring runs.
Another thing Kay will have to keep in check is how he faces hitters the second time through the lineup, as the southpaw really struggles in the fourth and fifth innings. For his career, the New York native boasts a 12.15 ERA in the fourth inning and a 10.29 ERA in the fifth inning, surrendering 16 of his 21 runs in these two innings alone.
As of the writing of this article, the Blue Jays have yet to announce what they will be doing in regards to starting pitching in today’s game against the Royals. They could choose a few different options such as having Tanner Roark start or having a few different relievers pitch multiple innings, but a solid option that wouldn’t tax the bullpen or have Roark start another game would be to let Anthony Kay start.
Considering Kay is currently not on the active roster, the Blue Jays would have to make a roster move by either sending a player to the taxi squad or moving Ross Stripling to the injured list if they do want him to start today.