3 reasons you should worry about the Blue Jays bullpen, and 3 reasons you shouldn’t
By Nigel Clarke
No. 2: Durability will become a concern if this usage trend continues
Right out of the gate, the Blue Jays have used and abused their relief pitching options. On Opening Day, each of Zach Pop, Erik Swanson, Tim Mayza, Anthony Bass, Adam Cimber, Yimi García and Jordan Romano were all used in relief of Alek Manoah after his poor performance.
Fortunately, the Jays had the next day off and were able to get by with just Cimber and Swanson in the second game against the Cardinals. However, the series finale in St. Louis resulted in another day of heavily utilizing the relief corps.
After Chris Bassitt's meltdown on the mound that day, Pop, Trevor Richards, Bass and Mayza were all needed to fill in the blanks. This marks yet another day where a ton of relievers were used. Pop's usage in particular is interesting, especially after John Schneider singled him out as "one of the relievers who could go multiple innings". So far, he has mostly been used in relatively short spurts.
Where this becomes a problem down the line (or perhaps in the very near future if this trend continues), is when guys begin to experience fatigue thanks to over-usage. Right off the bat, the bullpen has been been leaned on, so the worry will eventually become about injuries popping up.
No. 1: A lack of lefties is worrisome
Currently, the Jays have only one left-handed reliever on their entire 40-man roster – Tim Mayza, who isn’t exactly prime Billy Wagner.
Some will point out that Erik Swanson was dominant against lefties last year, pitching to a .200 avg and .517 OPS against. However, for his career, Swanson has been slightly worse against lefties than righties, and it might be a bit of a stretch to rely on him as a lefty-killer.
Either way, it is somewhat surprising the Jays didn’t sign another lefty in the offseason. As it stands right now, John Schneider’s matchup options late in games are somewhat worrying.