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The Blue Jays in April: Starting Pitchers

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We turn the page on the calendar, I hope our pitchers can turn the page too.

It was kind of a month in two acts. First act ended about April 22, we beat the Orioles 9-3, pushing our record to 11-9, just a game out of first. Our bats seemed to be coming around.  The rotation hadn't been good, but all-in-all things weren't too bad. Since then, 3 wins and 6 losses and the bullpen has been awful. As bad as it has been, it's only 9 games and all teams will have a 3 and 6 run at some point. But we are conditioned to think that all bad stretches will continue for months, because sometimes they have.

For the month the starting pitchers were 9-9 with a 4.41 ERA, 147 innings in 27 games, averaging 5.4 innings per game.  Batters hit .259/.341/.417 against them.  They gave up 3.8 walks/9 and had 7.7 strikeouts/9.

R.A. Dickey: 2-3, 5.09 ERA in 6 starts. 35.1 innings (5.9 per start). He had 2 good starts, one ok start and 3 bad ones. Batters hit .252/.350/.400 against him. 4.6 walk/9. 7.6 k/9. A lot has been made of how he is best early in the game. Batters hit .184/.259/.265 there first at bat against him. .213/.296/.319 second. .389/.522/.667 the third time.  I do think he is tiring quickly, and I don't think Gibbons is noticing when he tires. There seems to be this idea that knuckleball pitchers never tire, but they do. We have to hope he does better as the season goes on, it worked that way last year.

Mark Buehrle: 4-1, 2.16 ERA in 5 starts. 33.1 innings (6.7 per start). He had 4 good starts (very good starts) and one bad one. Batters hit .268/.319/.390 against him. 2.2 walks/9, 5.1 k. He's making good use of his defense. I thought he was hurt by our awful defense at the start of last season, and improved as the defense improved. This year, the defense has been good from the start. He does really need the plays made behind him. He struck out 11 in his first start, just 8 in the 4 starts since, a 2.9 k/9 rate. I don't think anyone else in baseball could be successful like that. I'm not sure he can continue to be successful like that.

Drew Hutchison: 1-2, 3.82 ERA in 6 starts. 33 innings (5.5 per start). He 5 pretty good starts and 1 bad one. His record has been hurt by poor run support and poor support by the bullpen. Batters hit .254/.312/.421 against him. 2.7 walks/9. 10.4 k/9. He went 7 innings last night, I'm hoping he can keep pitching late into games, now that he's had a few starts to build up his arm. He threw 102 pitching on the 24th, his high mark for the month. You have to like the strikeout to walk rate. I'm hoping the bullpen stops ruining his starts soon.

Dustin McGowan: 1-1, 5.87 ERA in 5 starts. 23 inning. (4.6 per start). He had 1 good start, 1 ok start and 3 bad ones. Batters hit .290/.377/.462 against him. He's had 3.9 walks and 5.9 strikeouts per 9. The strikeout rate worries me. Strangely, he's been worse against RHB (.316/.350/.553) than lefties (.273/.394/.400), but then lousy against both. He threw 92 pitches in his last start, so he'd getting there, but he's going to have to go deeper into games or he'll be replaced in the rotation. He doesn't seem to have a fan in Gibby.

Brandon Morrow: 1-2, 6.04 ERA in 5 starts. 22.1 innings (4.5 innings per start). He really hasn't had a very good start yet. His best start, he went 6 innings, allowing 5 hits, 3 earned, 1 walk with 9 strikeouts.  Batters hit .232/.357/.427 against him. He's walked 6.4 and struck out 9.7 per 9 innings. The good news is that he isn't giving up hits. The bad news is that when he does get hit, he gets hit hard. 9 of the 19 hits against him have been extra base hits, including 2 homers and 3 triples.  He's thrown up to 98 pitches, a good number for April, especially since he's coming off missing most of last season with an injury. I like the strikeouts. The walk rate isn't good, but half of his walks came in his last start, 8 walks in 2.2 innings. Before that 8 walks in 19.2 innings.