Pitching is key to a team’s success. Pitching wins titles. Of course, you need hitting, but pitching is vital. Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman and Mariners left-hander Robbie Ray are two pitchers who have been drawing attention around the league since last season. After having incredible seasons last year, we all wonder, is this a fluke? Can they do it again? Let’s look at how both of them are doing this season.
Kevin Gausman is in his first year with the Toronto Blue Jays. From April through late May, he was dealing and made hitters look bad. During April, he went 1-1 with a 2.19’ERA striking out 31 batters and didn’t give up any home runs. In May, he followed up by going 4-2 with a 2.72 ERA, 39 strikeouts, and a 1.10 WHIP.
But then, as the weather got better and summer was starting to come in, his production started to slowly take a hit.
From June through late July, he lost five of his nine starts. July was his worst month as his ERA ballooned up to 5.09, and his opponents batted .356 against him. But hold on! It doesn’t end there. There is some redemption coming out of this. Could you take a look at what he’s done in August? He redeemed himself by having some quality starts against good teams that play in the same division as the Blue Jays: the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees.
The Toronto Blue Jays lost a great pitcher this past offseason in Robbie Ray but gained another in Kevin Gausman. Who is having the better year?
On August 2nd, Gausman kicked off August the right way by striking out 10 Rays batters and got the win. On August 19th, with the Blue Jays facing the first-place Yankees, he struck out seven batters and allowed just four hits and no home runs. He won that start as well. Both of these games were on the road. Through six starts, he posted a 3-1 record with a 2.70 ERA and 42 strikeouts in August. It’s been a rollercoaster caliber season for Gausman, but we hope he can keep pitching well in September.
Robbie Ray, the former 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner with the Toronto Blue Jays, signed a long-term deal with Seattle Mariners this past offseason. We wonder if he can live up to the contract and pick up where he left off last year. There have been flukes in the past. In Ray’s case, we can’t say that yet. Ray is also having a somewhat rollercoaster season. His ERA has been going up and down.
April: 2-2, 4.15 ERA, 26 strikeouts, 1.25 WHIP, and four home runs
May: 2-3, 5.34 ERA, 42 strikeouts, 1.15 WHIP, and six home runs
June: 2-1, 2.19 ERA, 37 strikeouts, 1.03 WHIP, and four home runs
July: 2-2, 5.40 ERA, 34 strikeouts, 1.44 WHIP, and seven home runs
Just like Gausman, Robbie Ray is having a stellar month of August. It’s probably the best month he’s had during his first season as a Mariner. He finished the month undefeated.
August: 3-0 record, 1.64 ERA, 41 strikeouts, 0.91 WHIP, and .168 opponent batting average
Kevin Gausman and Robbie Ray are almost similar in how they overcome their new teams. In the first half of the season, you can say that Kevin Gausman had the upper hand. In the second half of the season, one would argue that Robbie Ray is the better pitcher out of the two so far.
Ray leads Gausman in innings pitched (155-140) and more strikeouts (180-164). Their wins and ERA are almost parallel to each other. What’s exciting about both pitchers is that they play for teams that might face each other in the playoffs. Gausman does lead all pitchers with his 5.1 fWAR though, with Ray sliding in at a 1.9 fWAR.
As I mentioned before, a matchup between the Mariners and the Blue Jays will be a great one. We need something new and fresh in October. Gausman and Ray in a pitching matchup will elevate the excitement because Ray used to be a former Blue Jay. Only one man and one team can come out victorious.