Blue Jays: The importance of starting pitching towards a possible postseason

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 20: Trevor Richards #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays gets taken out of the game by manager Charlie Montoyo in the tenth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on August 20, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 20: Trevor Richards #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays gets taken out of the game by manager Charlie Montoyo in the tenth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre on August 20, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images) /
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The Blue Jays are a wrecking ball of runs right now in chase of a Wild Card berth. Now, let’s pay close attention to the arms that have paved the path towards meaningful September and October baseball, and how these arms come into effect moving into further contention.

This team is hot right now! The smell of the crisp fall air has revitalized the team’s on-field tools, awakening a reliable starting rotation, an electric bullpen and a sauna-steaming lineup from one through nine.  The team has strung together a chopped streak of wins that were complimented by a down-slide in the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox.

Who do we thank? Yes, the runs have piled on in the past two weeks, but let’s give heavy credit to the gentlemen that stand on the hill, holding the pearl.  In my years of coaching, evaluating and scouting, I’ve always reckoned that pitching will set the tone for any and every program and team dynamic.  With the young and diverse group of arms the Blue Jays employ, starting pitching will be the make or break as we move forward to the next week and a half.

Blue Jays Starting Pitching Importance for October Chase

Hyun Jin Ryu

Our second in command ace, one of three southpaws on the staff is currently on a 10-day injured list due to apparent neck tightness. Ryu is will be an important arm in the next week and a bit towards a playoff push. His projected 1-2 starts once off the injured list will be big games.  His return and readiness for October is crucial with regards to depth in games and innings, should the Blue Jays secure a Wild Card spot and advance to a divisional series.  Ryu thus far is 13-9, with a 4.34 ERA, 133 strikeouts over 159.2 innings.

Jose Berrios

I’m a big prospect guy, I loved Austin Martin for the future of this team, however, the universe lined up in bringing Berrios to Toronto.  With an injured Hyun Jin Ryu, Berrios is a blessing of dependence.  As a Blue Jay, he’s currently 5-3 with a 3.39 ERA with 61 strikeouts only walking 11 in 58.1 innings. Berrios is average into games, between 5-6 innings, giving a good 15-18 outs before the bullpen is needed. The former Twin needs to continue to work his counts, staying up early and showing breaking balls earlier in counts, between innings 3-4 to succeed. He also needs to continue to live low and away and low and in with the fastball, where his strikeout numbers shine.

Alek Manoah

Clear powerhouse guy on the bump; brings the energy to all games. Definitely a guy or a combination guy to use in a sudden death gamer.  I’d give him the start or a second in for a Wild Card game.  Despite some recent hiccups in his last appearance, this guy is lights out.  He has a repertoire that’s toyed around each at-bat with a strong approach to one through nine, and is where his value and importance sits for fall baseball. In his last 30 games, he’s fanned 109 bats while only walking 37 in 99 innings. That’s 109 total strikeouts this year over 99 innings pitched with a 3.36 ERA winning seven and dropping two.  This will be a guy to keep up, keep strong and give him appearances in big games.

 Robbie Ray

The southpaw Cy Young Award candidate ace of the Blue Jays staff; very self explanatory; probably the go-to guy in any big game.  Probably the starter of the possible Wild Card game. Robbie is on a roll, there’s no stopping him and he’ll go deep into games with phenomenal numbers.  He’ll give you a chance to win all the time, all he needs is run support. 238 strikeouts to 43 walks over a 2.72 ERA/182 innings sings the Ray theme song; and it speaks for itself.  His zone charts display the use of the fastball and slider as the majority of five pitches, working low and inside to righty’s, low and outside to lefty’s.  His repertoire is dependable and strong. Most important starter-piece.

Steven Matz

Another key piece; important piece being a lefty; one of three lefty Toronto starters. If Matz can give a clean 5-6 innings per start with good run support, we can live just fine.  Another effective starter that can be used in combination within a joint-arm Wild Card game or need to win scenario.

Next. Big Nate graduates from the top prospects list. dark

Starting pitching will sink or swim, and we’re hoping they’re prepared to swim the marathon; these pieces will be key as the days go by.  The Blue Jays completed the Tampa Bay series and have a sabotaging Minnesota Twins club to deal with next.

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