Losing their series to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Toronto Blue Jays learned a valuable lesson of what stable starting pitching can provide.
With the wild card race in the American League so close, the Toronto Blue Jays aren’t afforded a large margin for error.
It doesn’t help that Hyun Jin Ryu’s absence with a mild neck strain forced the team had to go with a bullpen day with Ross Stripling having what we can only call a less than ideal outing. It also doesn’t help after losing 7-1 that the New York Yankees moving ahead of Toronto for the second and final wild card spot.
Fortunately, the Blue Jays have some favourable matchups upcoming including a home series against the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles that seem like a pivotal end to their season. While Toronto heads off to Minnesota, New York will host the Boston Red Sox which will have many eyes on them.
What can’t be overlooked is the fact that the Blue Jays have to take care of business on their end. This is why the decisions the team makes with its pitching staff remain the most crucial considering a blown game could mean an unfavourable result.
Toronto Blue Jays need Steven Matz and Jose Berrios to provide quality starts
The Blue Jays were forced to use a good chunk of their bullpen but with the game out of reach, they were able to keep their high leverage relievers on the bench. Toronto won’t have many days off between now and the end of the season so keeping the bullpen fresh is something the starting rotation needs to help with.
Steven Matz will get the first game of the series and what the Blue Jays will need is a repeat of his last outing against the Twins. He went 5 2/3 innings allowing two runs on three hits while striking out five.
After Matz, Berrios will pitch in Minnesota for the first time since being traded to Toronto at the MLB Trade Deadline. After a tough start to his arrival with the Blue Jays, the 27-year-old has found a groove going 3-1 in September with a 3.00 ERA throwing 25 strikeouts and allowing just three walks through 27 innings.
How important is the Blue Jays rotation over the next stretch of games? Let us know in the comments below.