Considering that the bullpen has been an area of weakness for much of the 2022 season for the Blue Jays, they have to be encouraged with the recent results from their relief corps.
I was certainly aware that the bullpen has been more effective lately, but I was genuinely surprised to see a tweet from the Sportsnet stats account on the weekend. It was posted on Saturday, but it indicated that the Blue Jays bullpen has been the best in baseball since July 11th. Didn’t see that one coming, did you? (Neither did I)
July 11 may seem like a bit of an arbitrary date, but it’s really not in the context of the 2022 season for the Blue Jays. The first thing is it obviously covers everything that’s happened since the All-Star break, which is an important development for a relief group that was struggling heading into the mid-summer classic.
Looking back at the Blue Jays’ schedule for July, it’s not hard to see what happened that made a difference. The Jays played the Phillies and the Royals for six games before the All-Star break, and held them to just 16 runs in total over the course of six games. More importantly, July 11th represents the date AFTER the Blue Jays were beat up by the Mariners last month, when they were swept across a four-game series in Seattle that left many Canadian baseball fans a little disappointed with their road trip.
Since then the Blue Jays have played 34 games, and despite a pretty significant cold snap in there, the bullpen has been holding up their end of the bargain. Just look at these individual stats over their last 15 appearances, respectively:
Jordan Romano– 1.69 ERA, 0.63 WHIP, 18 K, 16.0 IP
Yimi Garcia– 1.75 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 14 K, 15.1 IP
David Phelps– 1.26 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 16 K, 14.1 IP
Trevor Richards– 2.76 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, 23 K, 16.1 IP
Adam Cimber– 3.38 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 14 K, 13.1 IP *gave up a 2-run shot on the weekend
And then there’s the new additions, who have performed well since joining the Blue Jays:
Anthony Bass– 1.08 ERA, 0.72 WHIP, 7 K, 8.1 IP
Zach Pop– 2.70 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 1 K, 6.2 IP
Add it all up and the Blue Jays have had a pretty effective bullpen lately. They also may get some reinforcements before the end of the season in the form of a rehabbing southpaw in Tim Mayza, and potentially from Julian Merryweather as well, who has been pitching well during his own rehab from injury while in Triple-A. They even got a scoreless inning out of Yusei Kikuchi as a reliever on the weekend, and while I wouldn’t trust him to take a high leverage role, his stuff should play better out of the bullpen.
For everything we heard about the Blue Jays needing to do more to boost their bullpen before the trade deadline, and admittedly I was one of many people who said something to that effect, I have to tip my cap to the relievers for the fine work that they’ve done lately. Hopefully they can keep it up as the Blue Jays continue to push for a playoff spot, and it’ll be even more important that they’re effective once the postseason begins. Either way though, for now we should give credit where it’s due.
Belief it or not, the Blue Jays’ bullpen has been one of the best in baseball lately. If you had asked me a month ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be writing that statement again any time soon.