Blue Jays: Who goes to the bullpen when Stripling returns?
This season, the Toronto Blue Jays have used 15 different pitchers to start games, rotating through a few different names earlier in the season when the pitching corps was going through injury woes.
With the promotion of Alek Manoah from AAA and the addition of Jose Berrios at the trade deadline, the rotation has now been narrowed down to six individuals: Manoah, Berrios, Hyun Jin Ryu, Robbie Ray, Steven Matz, and Ross Stripling.
The recent stretch of doubleheaders made sense as to why the team went with a six-man rotation but now that the club has a pretty clean schedule to finish the season (only one doubleheader left against Baltimore in the second week of September), so it makes more sense to move back down to a traditional five-man to finish the campaign.
This can be a debated topic amongst the fanbase but with the regular schedule and a healthy amount of rest days thrown in, a five-man rotation works to finish the campaign in my opinion because you can have an extra arm in the bullpen or an extra player on the bench.
With the injury to Stripling last night and him missing his next start (at minimum), the rotation will be moving back to the five starters until his return. Once he is healthy, this topic will need to be addressed: who should move to the bullpen from the Blue Jays rotation to move down to a permament five-man squad?
Prior to tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Angels, Ross Stripling sports a 4.43 ERA through 19 appearances this season with 91 strikeouts, 27 walks, and a 1.226 WHIP. After struggling to find a groove to start the season, Stripling and pitching coach Pete Walker tinkered with his delivery and mechanics in late May and immediately began to see results.
Since early June, Stripling has only surrendered four or more runs three times through 11 starts and five or more strikeouts seven times in the same time span. His return from the All-Star break against the Red Sox did produce one of his worse outings of the year, allowing six earned runs through 0.1 innings, but has dialed in since then, giving up only three earned runs over his next three outings while pitching a minimum of 5.0 innings per outing.
The former Texas A&M product does have experience as a reliever, both with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Blue Jays to the tune of 88 appearances, the most out of any starter in the current Jays rotation.
Given that Stripling had to be pulled from the game from last night, there is a chance that he may become the odd man out of the rotation if the other potential bullpen options pitch well in his absence. An untimely possible injury stint for the right-hander.