For years, the Toronto Blue Jays were known for their prowess at the plate with numerous players at the top of the batting order being able to hit the long ball at any time.
Boasting players like George Springer, Bo Bichette, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., opposing pitchers have to deal with a top three that can give you a tough at-bat, and while Teoscar Hernández is no longer with the club, the Jays added a few bats this past offseason that can hit double-digit power in Daulton Varsho and Brandon Belt with Matt Chapman also lurking somewhere in the lineup as well.
This season has not been what many expected from the batting order but instead, the pitching staff has been outstanding and picking up the slack when the bats have struggled to score.
The Blue Jays pitching staff has been outstanding
The likes of Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, José Berríos and Yusei Kikuchi have been leading the way in the rotation while Jordan Romano, Tim Mayza, Erik Swanson, and newly acquired Jordan Hicks currently hold down the back end of the bullpen.
Adding to the intrigue is how even with 2022 Cy Young finalist Alek Manoah struggling to a 5.87 ERA through 19 starts this year, the Jays’ pitching staff continued to boast impressive collective stats which stand as the season starts to wind down.
One of the key parts of the 2023 season for the Blue Jays rotation has been their health, as every member has reached the 31-game mark except for Manoah.
Hyun Jin Ryu returned from Tommy John surgery in late August and took his spot in the rotation and has been pitching well since his return. An added benefit for a team that does not boast a ton of starting depth in Triple-A. Besides this group, only Trevor Richards has made a start for this club doing so on three occasions midway through the year as an opener.
At the trade deadline, the Blue Jays added two relievers in Hicks and southpaw Génesis Cabrera from the St. Louis Cardinals, who have done well with their new club and added some firepower to the relief corps, something that was missing from the 2022 season. This may be due to how the Jays bullpen struggled in the second game of the AL Wild Card, playing an integral part in the 8-1 collapse that saw the Mariners claw their way back and eventually win the game.
Internally, the Jays have relied upon the likes of Jay Jackson, Bowden Francis, and Nate Pearson to eat up innings this season while Chad Green returned from Tommy John surgery earlier this month and has pitched to mixed results early but hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last four outings.
With veteran Yimi García added into the mix and able to pitch in different scenarios when needed, the Blue Jays bullpen is light years ahead of what fans witnessed last season and over the past few years.
Overall, the Blue Jays pitching staff sits second in the Major Leagues in ERA (3.72) and is in great shape heading into a potential postseason run. The Jays currently occupy the second Wild Card spot and are fighting with the Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, and Seattle Mariners to see who will secure a playoff spot through the last weekend of the regular season.
If the Jays are looking to make a deep run, it will be their pitching that will be the reason they got there in the first place, and one that will likely help the team win their first postseason game since 2016.