Who is the Toronto Blue Jays Fifth Starter?
With Aaron Sanchez back on the disabled list, and J.A. Happ still on it, who will take over the spot as the fifth reliever?
As I have mentioned many times before, the one good thing about having Drew Hutchison in the organization was that he was a reliable starter. Whenever a starter or reliable reliever got injured, the Jays could call up Hutchison to take over the spot. And while he may not have been as good as the injured pitcher, he would still be about average.
Mat Latos made an ugly start on Tuesday (May 2), giving up seven earned runs in four innings. But with Sanchez back on the DL, he will be making at least one more start.
Casey Lawerence was brought up to take over a game start, since Happ and Sanchez are on the DL, but he did not have a fantastic first start. He gave up a grand slam, but that was pretty much the only damage he caused in 6 and 1/3 innings. Does he deserve a second start? Possibly. But are there any other pitchers the Jays could give the start to instead? Maybe.
On Sunday (April 30), Sanchez exited the game after one inning (13 pitches). The Jays went to the bullpen and called out Ryan Tepera. Coincidently, I was at that game and was immediately confused as to what had happened to Sanchez, but thanks to Twitter, the situation was explained. Tepera was not the most obvious choice to call out of the pen, but he was stellar in his four innings of relief, playing one run ball. Does that emergency relief appearance earn Tepera a start? I believe so. Even if he can play four – five innings, I have faith that the Jays bullpen would be able to keep the team in the game, even if they give up a couple of runs. For the past few games, the bullpen has played great, and if they can continue to pitch like that, it can help support any starter.
At this point, there really isn’t anyone that the Blue Jays could call up from AAA Buffalo. Technically speaking, Mat Latos is that guy, but he is already filling in for one missing starter.
One of the biggest concerns going into this season was about the health status of our starters, and what would happen to the team if anyone got injured. Now that health is a major risk factor in the five man rotation, the Toronto Blue Jays organization will be put to the test. If they manage to figure out a way to win without two of their most valuable starters, that can certainly help the Jays in the long run. But if the Blue Jays get trapped in a hole, due to a lack of starting pitching, it has the potential to hurt them for the rest of the season.