2 reasons for optimism, 3 for concern as the Blue Jays enter final five weeks of 2023

What are the key strengths and weaknesses of the Blue Jays heading into the stretch run?
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles / Scott Taetsch/GettyImages
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Pitching has been surprisingly elite

Throughout the 2023 season, it has certainly felt like the Jays' pitching hasn't been consistent all year, with flashes of brilliance mixed in with incompetent struggles along the way. Even though It may not seem like it at times, if we took a careful look at the statistics with regards to Jays’ pitching for 2023, they have surprisingly been near the top of the class in the league.

They are currently among the top eight in all of MLB in various statistical pitching categories, including team ERA (2nd), saves (tied for 1st), opponents batting average (tied for 6th), WHIP (8th), earned runs given up (3rd), strikeouts (2nd), K/BB ratio (5th), SO/9 ratio (3rd), BB/9 ratio (8th), shutouts (tied for 3rd) and holds (2nd). That's actually quite impressive, considering the fact that the Jays had quite a few struggling pitchers in Alek Manoah, Adam Cimber, Zach Pop, Nate Pearson, Mitch White and others along the way as well.

As the saying goes, pitching and defence wins championships, so if the Jays have their pitching already firing on all cylinders, they have practically won half the battle already. With their revamped bullpen with the additions of key deadline acquisitions Génesis Cabrera and Jordan Hicks, along with the dominant return of Hyun Jin Ryu to their starting rotation, the entire Jays pitching staff could be their main strength down the stretch. The defence has been quite solid as well, so if the hitters can just start giving them enough run support and do their part, the Jays should find themselves in the driver’s seat going forward.