Toronto Blue Jays: Bullpen’s lack of stability remains growing concern

Relief pitcher Tyler Chatwood #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays leaves the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Relief pitcher Tyler Chatwood #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays leaves the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning of the game against the Boston Red Sox. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

If there is one clear observation about the Toronto Blue Jays season, it’s that this team isn’t ready to take the next step as a contender if their bullpen continues its rough patch.

With a comfortable 5-1 lead on the Boston Red Sox, Tyler Chatwood came into the sixth inning and allowed Boston to get three runs and within striking distance. Then, Carl Edwards Jr. allowed a home run in the eighth inning which then set the stage for Alex Verdugo to bring in the winning run.

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Seeing the frustration on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s face speaks volumes considering this is another game that the Blue Jays lost because they didn’t have it from their bullpen. At some point, the front office has to make a decision as to what direction they want this team to go in.

Will they make a move to improve the pitching staff either by acquiring a starter so that they can move an arm to the bullpen or find a way to add a credible reliever. Either way, the players will get the sense of what management thinks of their chances to compete by how they approach the trade deadline.

This is a team that is certainly on its way to be a consistent playoff contender but to become a World Series threat, they need to shore up issues that are going to be around past this season. Maybe this is where you let your prospects like Alek Manoah and Nate Pearson find their way by getting innings against MLB calibre teams, not in triple-A.

If the team is serious about winning, Thomas Hatch and Pearson are being recalled to pitch out of the bullpen because the current options won’t get it done. It’s not fair to them considering they are being asked to pitch outside of their normal roles for an extended period.

You can blame manager Charlie Montoyo for how he manages the bullpen and which pitchers he gives a long leash to but there should be equal blame in the lack of options the front office has presented him with right now.

Toronto Blue Jays: Time for Bo Bichette to learn from fielding mistakes

What hurt Rafael Dolis wasn’t the go-ahead hit by Verdugo or the fact that he continues to be used as the closer. It was the fact that Bo Bichette’s errant throw from short took Lourdes Gurriel Jr. off first base and forced him to try and tag Kike Hernández who made it to second on the error.

Imagine how different the inning could have gone had that the first batter not been in scoring position with none out. Unfortunately, we can only deal with what actually happened and that’s a blown opportunity in the ninth inning.

While the bullpen is getting a lot of attention for the blown loss, Bichette’s error is flying under the radar a bit and it shouldn’t. When a team like the Blue Jays is struggling to win close games, their starting shortstop’s errors shouldn’t be a factor.

Bichette has committed 10 errors this season and while he has been producing at the plate hitting .268/.316/.460 with 11 home runs and 35 RBI, his fielding is what makes him a vital player for this team. He plays such a crucial position that every mistake gets magnified and early in the season, the debate about whether he should change positions was a dominant topic.

While he doesn’t have the 15 errors committed like Fernando Tatís, he doesn’t produce offensively like the 22-year-old and he doesn’t have the elite pitching staff that the San Diego Padres do. At a time where the Blue Jays are trying to determine what direction they want to go in, they probably didn’t expect Bichette’s fielding to be an issue although it could be worse I guess.

Related Story. Guerrero Jr.'s continues to rake. light

What are your thoughts on the Blue Jays latest loss? What needs to change? Are there any concerns about Bichette’s fielding? Let us know in the comments below.