What’s the one thing Blue Jays fans are frustrated about? The offence? They were but it seems to be picking up. The defence? Yes, they’ve had their injuries but they’ve kept it together. Their starting pitching? No, it’s actually been very good overall. Their relief pitching? Ding ding ding we have a winning. They always say “Don’t worry, the bullpen will lose this one for us”. Well maybe it’s because the Jays’ pen is NOT scary in the slightest.
They have no weapons in there that makes other teams nervous. Yankees have Miller, Betances, and Chapman, man is that scary. Kansas City, Boston, are other teams which have fantastic bullpens. Don’t forget the Orioles who have the second best relief ERA at 2.76 and the most wins with 17. Toronto’s bullpen, has just 7 with an ERA of 3.78.
I know Cecil and Loup are there but that’s not good enough. Cecil isn’t the All Star he was at one point and Loup has yet to be consistent to rely on for three straight outs.
Now imagine moving Sanchez to the pen with his numbers. If he pitched that way every 2nd or third day for 2 innings in the 7th or 8th inning, and Osuna to close. Don’t things look a little better?
Fans have been saying the pen has been blowing leads this season, put Sanchez in there to take some pressure of Storen (6.38 ERA) and Chavez (3.20 ERA), as well. These guys have the experience to be great and were expected to have sub 3 ERA’s. They’ve been feeling the heat. Then if Cecil and Loup regain their potential and pitch consistently, the Blue Jays have a much better shaped pen. One main guy to rely on and have a sure 3 outs with Sanchez then a supporting cast of Loup, Cecil, Storen, and Sanchez.
The Jays are the worst in 1-run games. They sit with a 6-10 record in that category. No doubt Sanchez could make those numbers improve.
Now if Sanchez does get pushed to the pen, who’s going to fill in you ask? I know Jays fans won’t like it when I say this but Drew Hutchison isn’t a bad option, if not the only option. His numbers in AAA this season with the Buffalo Bisons say enough for me. 10 Games Started, 2.93 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 58.1 IP, 61 SO, 22 BB, and opponent avg of .194. To me, those aren’t bad numbers at all. And I already hear Jays fans say ‘that’s in the minors, that’s not the MLB’. True! But what do you all think of Stroman? Or what did you think of his potential BEFORE he became an everyday MLB starter? There was so much hype for this guy.
Here’s Stroman’s numbers in his two AAA seasons (which he didn’t pitch much btw). 8 Games Started, 3.72 ERA, 1.371 WHIP, 38.2 IP, 50 SO, 13 BB, and opponent average of .267. So, say what you want about Drew but just see my point here. Fans praise Stroman for his pitching, they praised him before he made the jump to the big leagues. He’s now there as the ace (that’s another topic of conversation) and a fan favourite, but his numbers didn’t shout that to me before the MLB.
So moving Sanchez in my opinion to the bullpen AT SOME POINT is a no brainer. Help the pen out, bring up a starter to finish the season (Drew Hutchison) and let him focus on those 6 or 7 innings. To me, he’s proven he can come up to the Jays, use his past MLB experience and his newfound confidence across the boarder, and fill the role of Sanchez so the TEAM can be better and keep the starting pitching where it is.
It’s a win win.