The Toronto Blue Jays have gotten a lot better starting pitching lately. Unfortunately, that hasn’t led to much consistency. It was a tough week of games. Road games against the White Sox and Red Sox. They deserved a better fate.
Robbie Ray gave them a great outing on Tuesday night. He had a shutout going through six innings. With 91 pitches thrown I wasn’t convinced about bringing him out for the seventh. They did and sure enough, Ray gave up a game-tying home run to Andrew Vaughan. The bullpen then blew it in an eventual 6-2 loss.
Alek Manoah battled through five pretty good innings the following night and the ‘pen bounced back. Four relievers, four innings, zero hits. A comfortable 6-2 victory.
Hyun-Jin Ryu got roughed up a bit in the first inning Thursday night. He battled back and earned a quality start. The bullpen took over in the seventh just needing to keep it close. Anthony Castro and Joel Payamps each surrendered a run, and the Jays didn’t score again in a 5-2 defeat.
Alek Manoah, Ridiculous 83mph Slider. 😳 pic.twitter.com/5yQmRspZkj— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) June 10, 2021
The Pesky Report
I made an appearance on The Pesky Report this week. We talked about the upcoming series vs. Boston and the All-Star voting.
.@IBWAA @WhatsUpBellyUp @BellyUpBaseball@BellyUpSports #dirtywater— The Pesky Report (Red Sox Podcast) (@PeskyReport) June 10, 2021
Google: https://t.co/CLF0kryhEG@GraemeW_bus pic.twitter.com/uuHLXHJsC9
I’ve listened to episodes of the show in the last couple of weeks and I like what I heard. The crew are real Sox fans, know the team well, and aren’t afraid to voice their opinions. Check out the podcast here.
The low point came in the series-opening game against the Red Sox. Ross Stripling was dealing through five. When Vladimir Guerrero Jr. launched one into the Boston sky the Jays seemingly had the game in hand.
Stripling became somewhat unwound in the sixth. He gave up a run, hit a batter, and allowed another to reach base. Tyler Chatwood came in and walked a batter, hit two others, and uncorked a wild pitch allowing a runner to score. A 5-1 game quickly turned into a 5-4 nailbiter.
Carl Edwards Jr. gave up a towering homer to Christian Arroyo and the Sox won it in the tenth. It was the most painful loss of the season.
Fortunately, the Jays were able to bounce back and came up with their best performances of the season over the weekend.
Guerrero Jr. stayed hot as he became the first player in MLB with 20 home runs. His reliance seemed to rub off on his teammates as Marcus Semien, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio and Reese McGuire also went deep.
It was the first time Guerrero Jr., Bichette, and Biggio all homered in the same game since they debuted back in 2019. Steven Matz was steady over 5.2 innings and the ‘pen held the large lead they were gifted.
The power show continued on Sunday. Teoscar Hernández hit 2 big flies and drove in 6! Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Semien, Bichette, Biggio, Guerrero Jr. and Rowdy Tellez also homered in a 18-4 rout. It marked just the second time in franchise history that the Blue Jays hit 5 or more homers in consecutive games.
The Toronto Blue Jays slugged 8 home runs today. Brings to mind the time they hit a MLB record 10 homers vs the Baltimore Orioles on September 14, 1987.— Blue Jays Dad Podcast (@BlueJaysDad) June 13, 2021
Rance Mulliniks (2)
George Bell (2)
Ernie Whitt (3)
(And it’s Ernie’s birthday today!) pic.twitter.com/wUcfrEVZEt
Obviously, the hitters on the club were sick of seeing leads evaporate and took matters into their own hands.
Teoscar Hernandez smashes his SECOND HR of the day 💣— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) June 13, 2021
He has a career-high 6 RBI so far today… and it’s the 4th inning pic.twitter.com/9XKAdBe7iR
Trade Winds Blowing
The team has gotten mostly good, sometimes really good starting pitching from their three lefties. Lately, they’ve gotten good outings from Ross Stripling. Alek Manoah has followed up his impressive debut, with uneven performances since.
2021 AL Pitching WAR Leaders— Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref) June 8, 2021
John Means (3.0)
Kyle Gibson (3.0)
Gerrit Cole (2.8)
Lance Lynn (2.2)
All Leaders: https://t.co/6kgu9LyXT9
Neither one may be the answer if the team is going to make a run this season.
Gibson is having his best season and would provide a more reliable and experienced option. He’d also give the Blue Jays a chance to go lefty-righty-lefty in a playoff series.
Scherzer left his start on Friday night after just 12 pitches with a groin tweak. An MRI showed inflammation but no muscle strain.
Not sure what happened but Max Scherzer has left this one early. pic.twitter.com/Bas81EL1C0— Justin Groc (@jgroc) June 11, 2021
Daniel Hudson of the Nationals should be considered as well. The Jays have proven to have one of the best offenses in baseball. The starting pitching has really rounded into form. They now need the front office to double down on their winter investments by acquiring some relievers.