Heading into the season there were plenty of unknowns surrounding the Blue Jays starting rotation. Would Aaron Sanchez finally get over his chronic blister problem? Could Marcus Stroman regain his elite form from 2017? How would the bottom of the rotation fare with its mix of incoming veterans and inexperienced pitchers?
Stroman, Sanchez, Matt Shoemaker, and rookie Trent Thornton have pitched 48.1 innings and combined for an insane 1.12 ERA. Just imagine where the 3-8 Blue Jays would be right now if not for the stellar pitching of these four. Crazy to think that two of Toronto’s better starting pitchers, Clay Buchholz and Ryan Borucki, have yet to even pitch for the Blue Jays this season. As soon as they arrive, and are added to a rotation that already includes Stroman, Sanchez, and Shoemaker, Toronto then arguably boasts one of the deepest and most talented groups of starting pitchers going.
The 2016 Blue Jays proved just how far a team can go when it’s starting pitchers excel. That year Toronto would finish 89-73, despite having a less than perfect offense that included a team AVG (.248) that was 12th in the American League. Thankfully for the Blue Jays, their pitchers had the lowest ERA (3.78) in the AL and Toronto was able to ride that wave of good pitching all the way to the ALCS.
A lot has been made the past few years of a possible falling out between Sanchez and Stroman. And that this rift possibly had something to do with their struggles last season. Whatever their problem(s) might have been, they certainly look to have put their differences behind them. Their resurgence couldn’t have come at a better time for the Blue Jays as this work-in-progress of a team desperately needs their top two pitchers playing to their full potential.
Much like in 2016, this years starting rotation understands how crucial their contributions are on a team lacking in offensive punch. Until Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette arrive on the scene, which hopefully isn’t too far off, look for the Blue Jays rotation to continue carrying this rebuilding ball club.