Toronto Blue Jays: Evaluating the postseason pitching plan

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Toronto Blue Jays Hyun-Jin Ryu

Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)

With the Toronto Blue Jays looking destined for a three-game playoff series this October, let’s take a look at their options when it comes to who will take the mound in the 2020 postseason.

While there are still no guarantees, the Toronto Blue Jays are holding down a playoff spot and look well-placed to qualify for the postseason. With this in mind, we take a look at their starting rotation and who could factor in come October:

The Sure Thing – Hyun-Jin Ryu

In a season that has been dominated by polarizing play all over the diamond, Hyun-Jin Ryu has given the Blue Jays as close to a stabilizer as they’ve had over the course of what has been a tumultuous year. Over 10 starts with the team this season, he is 4-1 with a trim 3.00 ERA.

Most importantly, Ryu has avoided the injured list in 2020, something that not many Blue Jays arms can attest to. A five pitch-wielding force of durability and experience, Ryu is the overwhelming favourite to start Game 1. From here on out, it gets a little murky.

The Contingency Plan – Matt Shoemaker

At this point, you either feel bad for Matt Shoemaker, or you don’t have a pulse. While with the Los Angeles Angels in 2016, the native of Wyandotte, Mich. took a line-drive comebacker off of his head.

Shoemaker needed brain surgery. On April 1, 2018, the eight-year veteran suffered a right forearm strain that ended his season before it even got off the ground.

During his first season with the Blue Jays in April 2019, Shoemaker tore his ACL while trying to assist in a rundown. His season, once again, was over in April.

This year, the fiery right-hander got some starts under his belt, but the injury bug struck again. This time, it was a lat strain that kept him out of the lineup.

Blue Jays brass feels that Shoemaker is turning a corner. He threw a live batting practice this week, and felt good after the session.

If Shoemaker can get some starts under his belt before the regular season concludes, expect him to take the hill for an abbreviated start in Game 2. If injuries end up costing the former Eastern Michigan Eagle another shot at the playoffs, the Blue Jays will have to look elsewhere.

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