On Sunday, the Cincinnati Reds hosted the Toronto Blue Jays in an exciting rubber match between two teams. Both clubs put on an entertaining series in which the Blue Jays erased an eight-run deficit on Friday night and went on to win. However, the Jays could not erase an eight-run deficit on Saturday as the Reds took hold of the lead and never let go. The deciding game of the series on Sunday was much more competitive and featured a fantastic pitching matchup between R.A. Dickey and Johnny Cueto.
Throughout most of the year, the Blue Jays have been one of the hottest teams in baseball, and have looked unstoppable at points during the campaign. The team has benefited greatly from the individual performance of Edwin Encarnacion, who is having an All-Star type of year. One of the most interesting aspects about the fantastic weekend series between the Reds and Blue Jays was the fact that Cincinnati seemed to expose a possible chink in Toronto’s armor.
All season long, Toronto has enjoyed success because of their excellent offensive play, but the team has lagged in terms of pitching. In the team’s 11-1 loss on Saturday, starting pitcher J.A. Happ pitched terribly and put a lot of pressure on the team’s bullpen to get them through the rest of the game. According to Baseball-Reference.com, the Blue Jays rank 15th in the league in quality starts, but hover near the bottom of the league in just about every other pitching category.
Moving forward, whoever opposes the Blue Jays should be aiming to knock out the team’s starters early in order to get into the team’s average bullpen. The team has been in a bit of a tail-spin recently and now it appears the Reds have exposed a major area of weakness for the rest of MLB to see. Toronto will have to rely heavily on their starting pitching if they are able to win the AL East crown in 2014.