TORONTO- The 2015 Toronto Blue Jays are on pace to clinch their first playoff appearance since 1993. Canada’s only MLB ball club went 34-14 since the All Star break thanks to the midseason acquisition of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price. Even though Price is a major boast in the rotation, the rest of the pitching staff is a bit of concern especially in the playoffs.
So far the Blue Jays starting rotation looks like this:
Price himself is a huge upgrade in the Blue Jays’ starting rotation. Since being acquired by the Detroit Tigers, Price pitched 50.1 innings with a 2.15 ERA and 58 strikeouts. He’s been the ace of the Blue Jays’ staff since Roy Halladay and continues to shut down opposing hitters while going deep into games. Price will definitely start for the AL Wild Card game or ALDS opener.
Marco Estrada is enjoying a breakout season and has been the club’s most reliable starter. He has a 3.18 ERA with 111 strikeouts over 147.1 innings. Estrada’s emergence has been huge for the Blue Jays’ pitching staff, and he will be relied upon in the pennant race. The knock on Estrada is that he’s known to give up a lot of home runs during his career. Despite being a flyball pitcher, Estrada is still a dependable arm for in the rotation or bullpen.
Dickey has pitched better as of late, with a 2.68 ERA since the All Star break. The Blue Jays won 10 of his 11 starts in the 2nd half. However, the knuckleball is a unpredictable pitch and Dickey allowed 23 dingers this season. The grip of the knuckleball will be key for Dickey’s success in the postseason, especially pitching in cold weathers with less humidity.
Buehrle is having another solid season for the Blue Jays with a 3.72 ERA in 174.1 innings. However, the 36-year old has been roughed up lately and he is expected to miss his next start this Saturday against the New York Yankees. The soft-tossing southpaw is also been dealing with a minor soreness in his left shoulder and received cortisone shot. His age and health may be a bit of a concern for the Blue Jays, but he’s still capable pitcher when healthy.
It’s been a rough season for Hutchinson, who posted a 5.33 ERA in over 147 innings. The 25-year old righty has been outstanding at home with a 2.91 ERA, but struggles on the road with a 9.44 ERA. Still, the Blue Jays will need Hutchison to perform better for the remainder of the season. He is probably going to be used out of the bullpen as a long-inning reliever.
Stroman will make his season debut this Saturday against the Yankees. This will be his first start since September 26, 2014 after making a remarkable recovery from a torn ACL. The 24-year old was roughed out from his final rehab start, giving up four runs, eight hits and four walks over three innings. If Stroman can repeat his number like he did in 2014, the Blue Jays will be in good shape in their rotation. But that’s a big “if.”
Overall, Price is probably the only lock to start in the postseason for the Blue Jays. Usually teams will use their three best starters when the games matter. The next 23 games of the regular season will indicate how the Blue Jays will shape up the rest of pitching staff. Pitching will be the key factor for their playoff success.