Blue Jays: Grading the first quarter of the season
I think it’s safe to say that the Blue Jays starters are going to need some help as we get deeper into the season.
While the trio of Hyun-Jin Ryu, Robbie Ray and Steven Matz has proven to be three reliable options, the four and five spots in the rotation have been turnstiles so far.
With nine other pitchers getting starts or “opens” so far, the Blue Jays have been looking for anything that can stick. With help potentially on the way, the starting group will hopefully find a consistent group of five or six pitchers they can rely on for a full turn through the rotation.
Blue Jays starters rank 21st in MLB in ERA (4.61) and give up the second most home runs per nine innings (1.77).
Even as Ryu has performed like an ace once again, it’s hard to say how reliable Ray and Matz can be for a full 162. In a playoff series, the Blue Jays are going to need at least one more starter than can be counted on to shut down a playoff-caliber offence.
Ross Stripling is probably better suited for a role out of the bullpen and Anthony Kay can probably only be the best version of himself for four or five innings as we saw last week against the Phillies.
If called up, hopefully one of Nate Pearson and Alek Manoah can settle in and fill one rotation spot. There will likely be a starter joining the Blue Jays via trade, so if they can fill one spot internally that would be the ideal solution to filling out the rotation behind Ryu, Ray and Matz.
Individually, Ryu has been great, and Ray and Matz have maybe been better than expected, but the rest of the rotation has left a lot to be desired and put a huge strain on the bullpen this early in the year.