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Blue Jays: Who goes to the bullpen when Stripling returns?

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 23: Steven Matz #22 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 23, 2021 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Blue Jays 3-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JULY 23: Steven Matz #22 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 23, 2021 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Blue Jays 3-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – JULY 23: Steven Matz #22 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Mets at Citi Field on July 23, 2021 in New York City. The Mets defeated the Blue Jays 3-0. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

So who goes?

It kind of depends on how the Blue Jays approach the scenario.

Overall, unless Alek Manoah starts to become physically fatigued, there should be no real reason to consider him for the bullpen unless the Blue Jays really feel the analytics and pitch count outweigh the stats for him as a starter. That leaves just Stripling and Matz.

The Stripling injury throws a wrinkle into how the Blue Jays rotation is going to shape up, as last night’s doubleheader with both players pitching was pretty much an audition of sorts until he had to leave the game. He will be undergoing tests and will hopefully be only missing his next start and nothing more. For now, the Blue Jays rotation moves forward with five pitchers but will need to be addressed once Stripling returns to the roster.

If the Blue Jays want to go with a pitcher who has the most experience as a reliever then Stripling is the man who should be moved back. He has the most innings compared to Matz and could be used in middle relief or a long man role if necessary. The injury could also play a factor especially if Matz is throwing well in the rotation and gains the upper hand in terms of momentum.

Looking at other stats between the two, Steven Matz could be moved to the bullpen because of how his numbers compare to Stripling when it comes to facing batters through the order, as the right-hander does boast better stats when facing a lineup a second (.272 OBP) and third time (.354 OBP) through the order compared to the southpaw (.339 and .415 OBP respectively). Before the Brad Hand trade, one could also argue that another left-hander would be a bonus in the bullpen as well.

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Prior to the injury news last night, I fully thought that the Blue Jays would end up moving Steven Matz to the bullpen just because of how well Stripling is pitching as of late. His righty counterpart does have more experience as a reliever but considering the Jays will most likely be calling Nate Pearson up to the roster in the near future as a bullpen arm, having another left-hander to call upon in either middle relief or long-man would be beneficial while also keeping the hotter arm in the rotation with Stripling.

Now that there is the potential that Stripling could be out for an extended period of time, Matz will certainly be in the rotation and the question is put on pause for the time being.

It is anybody’s guess at this point and truth be told, they could realistically run with a six-man rotation to finish the season because of how Hyun Jin Ryu usually likes to pitch with an extra day of rest once Stripling returns. This would take away either an arm in the bullpen or a roster spot on the bench, so if they go with the extra starter, the rotation will have to pitch deeper into games in order to not tax the bullpen.

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Where do you stand on this notion Blue Jays fans? Who should be moved to the bullpen?

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