Last season was always going to be a tough act for Anthony Bass to follow. He had a career-best ERA of 1.54, which incorporated a 1.75 ERA following his trade to Toronto.
Even Bass achieving this level of consistent success during a year when he also appeared in a career-high 73 games didn't matter. He was not expected to produce at the same level in 2023.
A forgettable month
At the same time however, no one anticipated the 35-year-old starting off as badly as he did. During his first appearance of the season, he allowed a hit, a walk and one earned run, lasting just one out.
This set the stage for what would be a nightmare April for Bass. He couldn't do anything right, and he ended the month with a 7.00 ERA and 1.78 WHIP.
Projected over the course of the season, the Dearbon, Michigan native's ERA and WHIP would both be the second-worst of his career. And consider that the season in question for his worst ever ERA and WHIP -- 2017 -- saw him only make two appearances.
Under no circumstances press send
Fair or not, it was asked if Bass was the weak line in the Blue Jays' bullpen? A general lack of execution resulted in him giving up too much hard contact, contributing towards a shocking opposing batting average of .321.
Not helping the situation, was the 12th-year veteran taking to Twitter in the middle of the month to vent. More specifically, he complained about his pregnant wife apparently having to clean up their two-year-old child's popcorn mess on a United Airlines flight.
Almost predictably, this resulted in Bass being brutally roasted on Twitter. Whoever you think was in the wrong for the alleged incident, it's fair to say his decision to make his complaint public on a social media platform was ill-advised.
What a difference one month makes
Now, fast forward essentially one month, and things are looking decidedly better for the righty. Yes, his first appearance in May saw him give up three hits and one earned run in 0.1 innings, but since then he has undergone a resurgence.
Bass is beginning to look more like the 2022 version of himself, much to the delight of Blue Jays fans. Consider that in his last nine appearances (8.2 innings combined) he has allowed just one hit and no runs.
As a result, the 2008 fifth round draft pick has seen his ERA drop from a season-worst 7.71, to 4.50. Of course he would like to see it continue to go down, but at least he's headed in the right direction.
Renewed confidence all around
One of the best indicators of Bass' improved form, is what happened on Saturday in Minnesota. He ended up replacing Chris Bassitt, who had endured a disastrous outing where he allowed nine hits and seven earned runs in 4.0 innings.
The 2008 GLIAC Pitcher of the Year ended up pitching two innings, allowing no hits, walks or runs in the process. This represented the longest appearance of his second-stint in Toronto, and alludes to the renewed confidence John Schneider has in him due to his improved pitching.
At a time when the Blue Jays are struggling for consistency as a whole, Bass seems to have found his. Fans will be hoping he continues down the path he is currently walking, while also making sure to stay off social media.