Blue Jays: Recapping what’s gone wrong in the bullpen this season
It’s hard not to think about where the Blue Jays would be with a more effective bullpen. It’s been a weakness for the team for all but the very early stages of the schedule, and unfortunately it’s become a regular occurrence to witness blown leads in the late innings. We saw that very thing play out again against the lowly Washington Nationals to begin the week, which resulted in a two-game sweep that the Blue Jays really can’t afford right now.
What’s truly maddening for Jays fans is that they’ve had a lot of very talented relievers come and go this season, and yet somehow they haven’t been able to put together a group of 7-8 that can do the job. In fact, most of the time it’s one or two that are reaching expectations, if that.
There are many different reasons why the bullpen has been such a weakness, and I thought it might be interesting to break it down. On one hand I actually feel bad for Ross Atkins and the front office, especially when you look at how many serviceable relievers have been added to the roster over the last 12 months. On the other, I think even they’d admit that they need to do a better job of identifying talent ahead of next season, even if their track record in that department was pretty good prior to 2021.
Whether it’s been injuries, underperformance, or other factors at play, the Blue Jays bullpen simply hasn’t been effective enough to keep this team in the playoff hunt. Let’s have a look at what’s worked against them.