Signing with the Blue Jays on a one-year, $8 million dollar deal this past off-season after being acquired during last year’s trade deadline, it is safe to say that not many would have expected the season Robbie Ray has pitched this year.
Sporting an ERA under 4.00 just three times over his last seven seasons, the southpaw has found a groove this year in Toronto, leading the Blue Jays rotation and giving the club a shot at playing postseason baseball this year.
So far this campaign, Ray is throwing to a 2.60 ERA through 27 starts and 166.0 innings, striking out 212 batters with 41 walks while limiting batters to a .203 batting average with a 0.99 WHIP. The Tennesee product is joining an elite company within the franchise’s history:
- First Jays pitcher to pitch 10+ strikeouts in four consecutive games (the previous record was three games held by Roger Clemens)
- Second Blue Jays pitcher to reach 200+ strikeouts in 26 games or less (Clemens as well)
Ray also broke a pretty impressive Major League record last week against Baltimore, racking up the most strikeouts (1241) through 1000.0 innings pitched, breaking the previous record held by Yu Darvish at 1222 K’s.
With Gerrit Cole leaving last night’s game with a hamstring injury, Blue Jays pitcher Robbie Ray may have a better shot at winning the Cy Young award if he finishes strong in September.
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The left-hander is currently leading the American League in ERA (2.60) while sitting second in terms of strikeouts (212) behind New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole (217). With how well Ray is pitching this season, his name is becoming a staple in the Cy Young conversation and his chances of winning the award this season may have taken a turn for the positive after last night’s game.
Cole started last night against the Blue Jays but was removed in the fourth inning with what is being dubbed a hamstring injury. Cole does hold a few statistical metrics over Ray when you look at expanded analytics but if the right-hander heads to the IL for a few weeks/rest of the season, a strong finish from the Blue Jays starter could catapult him ahead of the Yankees ace.
Lynn was throwing well earlier this season before being placed on the IL in late August (2.59 ERA through 24 starts and 135.2 innings) but it appears that the right-hander is almost ready to rejoin the rotation, missing only one start. The White Sox starter does have a bit of a hill to climb considering he is behind due to injuries but a strong finish could compete with Ray and Cole as the season comes to a close. Similar to Lynn, Carlos Rodon was also pitching well before ending up on the IL but is also behind in games started and innings pitched would hurt his chances.
Other potential names who could creep into the Cy Young standings as the season comes to a close are Chris Bassitt (Oakland Athletics), Lance McCullers (Houston Astros), and Chris Flexen (Seattle Mariners), but all three would have to go on a solid run to stand a chance against the current frontrunners.
If Cole ends up heading to the injured list, a strong finish from Ray could see him pull ahead in the rankings and finish with some personal hardware on his mantle come season’s end.
Even if the Yankees flamethrower avoids an injury stint, the Blue Jays southpaw is setting himself up for a good chance at taking home the hardware, as well as earning a substantial raise, this upcoming off-season.