A key reason behind the fact that Toronto Blue Jays haven’t become cellar dwellers this season is their starting pitching. It’s been the most consistent aspect of the team all season long.
Blue Jays Starting Pitchers Huge Reason for Recent Surge
It took until the second half of May, but the Jays have finally started to win games in bunches, and have started off the month of June nicely. After going 1-5 against the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays in the middle of May, the team finally woke up and turned their overall play around; they have since gone on a nice 12-5 run. That run includes impressive series wins against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, and as of Monday this puts the Jays only 2.5 games out of first place in the AL East.
Once again, it’s no surprise that the Blue Jays are continuing to have fantastic starting pitching, though J.A. Happ is having a surprisingly fantastic year. R.A. Dickey and Marcus Stroman struggle once in a while, but are still very good at keeping this Jays team in the games that they start. However, Marco Estrada and Aaron Sanchez have arguably been two of the best pitchers for Toronto this season, and have lead the charge in this current hot streak.
Sanchez has become a permanent starter in the Jays rotation has been really good so far. His last seven starts have been lights out. He has a 4-0 record and a 2.81 ERA in 48.0 innings pitched, with forty-one strikeouts and a 1.25 WHIP. Sanchez only has two starts so far in which he has given up five or more runs. In his eleven starts, he has thrown ten quality starts, which is one of the reasons why the Jays haven’t completely lost everything early this season.
Estrada is arguably one of the most underrated pitchers in the American league, which he shouldn’t be, seeing as he was dominant through out the playoffs last October and all of last season for Toronto. In Estrada’s last seven games, he has a 3-0 record in seven games started, with a 2.16 ERA, thirty-eight strikeouts, and a 0.80 WHIP. In his last start on Sunday, he flirted with a no hitter into the eighth inning against the Red Sox. He’s been one of the many bright spots for the Jays pitching so far this season.
The Jays also have nice depth to their starting pitching. If one of those starters gets bumped and bruised and they need to call someone up, they have that covered with Drew Hutchison. Hutchison is having a very good season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Even if Buffalo isn’t the ideal place for Hutchison to be playing at, he is making the most of it and his numbers say it is really helping him. In ten starts this season, he is 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA in 58.1 innings pitched. He owns twenty-two walks, sixty-one strikeouts, and a 1.06 WHIP. If all goes right, the Jays will see Hutchison start a few more games this season for the big league club. And if the team decides to cut Sanchez’s work load, it won’t be a problem for Toronto, as they have Hutchison waiting for his turn.
The bullpen is even pitching better lately. The addition of Jason Grilli could pay off more than just on the mound; he could help the young arms learn a thing or two, and he could definitely help Roberto Osuna become an even better closer for this team. That should scare other clubs.
Hopefully, the good second half of May will carry over into the month of June. Thanks to the fantastic starting pitching this team has had all season long, that seems likely to happen.