Last season the Blue Jays were carried by the strength and consistent efforts of their starting pitchers. Without the amazing efforts of Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, Marcus Stroman, and Francisco Liriano, the Blue Jays would have been up the creek in 2016, especially towards the end of the season when Toronto’s offense had an abysmal .236 AVG in September and struggled to put runs on the board.
It was believed that if Toronto wanted to have any shot of competing for the post-season in 2017, they’d need a repeat performance (or close to it) of what the rotation did last year. However, because of injuries and inconsistent play from Estrada and Liriano, Toronto’s rotation has been a shadow of what they were just one year ago.
It’s becoming pretty obvious that the Blue Jays offense is what it is, a group comprised of far too little speed and lacking the consistent contact hitting required when they fail to hit the long ball. Despite the poor play of the offense, this line-up can still be a whole lot better than what they’ve shown so far this season. Knowing all too well that the Blue Jays will not be able to win many ball games by scoring a boat-load of runs, it’s up to the starting rotation to once again take charge and lead this ball club back into the playoff race.
Unlike in the first half of the season, there aren’t any excuses now for the rotation. With the return of Sanchez, for the first time since mid-April the starting pitchers are completely healthy. And in case they need reminding, Estrada and Liriano have lifetime ERA’s of 3.99 and 4.12, a far cry better than the 5.17 and 5.56 they’ve put up so far this season. If Liriano and Estrada need further incentive, they’re also playing for new contracts at seasons end, and if they continue to pitch as poorly as they have, it makes Toronto’s chances of being in the mix next to impossible.
The Blue Jays are extremely lucky to find themselves in a position where they’re still within striking distance of a wild card spot. No team in the AL East, including the division leading Red Sox have done enough to lay claim as the clear-cut favourite, so now lets just see how good this Blue Jays squad can be when all five of their starting pitchers are on top of their game at the same time.