The Toronto Blue Jays split their opening four-game series against the Detroit Tigers. Although the results weren’t exactly weren’t the best against another expected bottom-dweller in the American League, the Jays’ starting rotation, which I had expected to be questionable based on past history and inexperience, has gotten off to a great start:
- Marcus Stroman allowed no runs on two hits in 7.0 IP with four BB and seven SO on Opening Day.
- Matt Shoemaker allowed no runs on two hits in 7.0 IP with two BB and seven SO on March 29th.
- Aaron Sanchez allowed no runs on three hits in 5.0 IP with three BB and six SO on March 30th.
- Rookie Trent Thornton set the Jays’ franchise record for strikeouts in an MLB debut on Sunday the 31st, allowing no runs on two hits in 5.0 IP with no BB and eight SO.
Clayton Richard has been replaced by Sean Reid-Foley for Monday’s game against Baltimore due to a right knee stress reaction. It has not been determined how much time he is expected to miss. In 2018, Reid-Foley went 2-4 with an ERA of 5.13 and WHIP of 1.560 in seven starts for the Jays. As I have previously written, Richard was the most durable out of the Jays’ possible starters with MLB experience, so this injury is not encouraging since the Jays rotation has battled health issues in recent years. Thornton will be making a spot start for Ryan Borucki due to his current left elbow soreness issues. If the health concerns continue, we may see Reid-Foley and Thornton more regularly this year.
It’s great to see the Jays rotation get off to a strong start and rack up innings given the injury problems over the last couple of years. While Detroit has made some changes, their offensive attack is still relatively weak with the exception of OF Nicholas Castellanos. The real test for the Jays starters will come when they face stronger divisional opponents, such as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. There will be two games in Boston on April 9th and 11th, with another four-game series at home starting May 20th. The first game against the Yankees will not come until June 4th. In the meantime, they will be facing AL opponents such as Baltimore, Cleveland and Tampa Bay, who might prove to be their biggest challenge early in the year.
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