The Toronto Blue Jays are one of the most gifted teams in terms of offensive strength; the Blue Jays pitching? Not so much.
Not only do they have a fierce lineup, the team has been one of the best in the league with 21 wins and 15 losses so far this season. With that record, they are above every team in the AL Central and AL West. But they are also third in the AL East and looking to fall to fourth. One of the biggest problems for the team has been the pitching and the Blue Jays need to figure it out before the playoffs if they want to go far.
Blue Jays Pitching: Starters Problem
Pitching always starts with the starters, and the Blue Jays pitching problem is no different. While the winning record is great with all of them, they have allowed too many hits and home runs. The Blue Jays have allowed 29 home runs between their five starters. To put that in perspective, the Atlanta Braves only have 15 home runs from their starters. That is what the Blue Jays are going to face and is another team that is expected to make the playoffs.
Having great pitching is as needed as having great offense and the Blue Jays offense is one of the best in the league. Players like Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have been improving their offensive capabilities to the point of being leaders in the league.
But the big elephant in the room is Alek Manoah. He was one of the best players for the team last year but has since struggled to start this one. He has a 4.83 ERA, which is significantly worse than the 2.24 ERA he had last year. He has allowed 43 and has only 32 strikeouts to start the year. While everyone else is struggling in the pitcher’s mound, His sudden decline is worrying and will need to be constantly looked at through the year in hopes he can make it through this slump.
Some Blue Jays Pitching Positives
While there are a lot of negatives from the pitching, there have been positives. Yusei Kikuchi has had a huge improvement as a pitcher this year. He could have been argued as the worst starter the Blue Jays had and now is the best.
The 31-year-old from Morioka, Japan hasn’t lost a game for the Blue Jays and has become a thorn for batters in every shape and form. His 5.19 ERA has gone down to 3.35 ERA and has become the best pitcher the Jays have this year. He has talked about wanting to improve from last season and his ability to strike out hitters has drastically improved. He has improved in throwing in the corners of the strike zone and doesn’t allow a hit easily. Despite him having the most home runs hit on him with eight, his drastic improvement has been great for the Blue Jays.
Blue Jays Pitching Improvements Start at the Top
While we can look at every pitcher individually, there has to be a reason there is a common trend among the pitchers on why they are not performing right. Overall, it’s the Blue Jays pitching staff to help get these players ready and to fix issues and it feels like these issues are not being addressed. Pete Walker has been the pitching coach for the Blue Jays since 2012 and has been around with the ups and downs of the team.
But there have been mistakes on the management crew alongside Walker. Sometimes they keep Manoah on too long and the opposing team gets the lead in the game. It’s not only on the pitchers to make sure that the pitching is correct, the management needs to correctly manage the pitchers and they haven’t been doing a strong job.
But what happens with the Blue Jays, if they get their pitching figured out will be the key for their 2023 season and hopefully, they find out how to fix it soon. Let us know your thoughts on the Blue Jays pitching in the comments!
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