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Blue Jays relievers in May

The Jays bullpen had a pretty great month.

MLB: Cincinnati Reds at Toronto Blue Jays Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

What a difference a month makes. In April we were 8-17. In May 18-10.

Our pitchers had a 4.14 ERA in April, 4.03 in May. Our bullpen was much better in May, 3.06 ERA compared to a 4.70 mark in April, but then the starters had a much worse month 4.73 ERA, after 3.77 in April, but then we had 3 injuries in the starting rotation.

With how bad the starting pitching has been, the relievers have pitched a lot. 103 innings this month, averaging 3.7 innings a game. You gotta imagine they can’t keep up that work load for long without the performance suffering.

Let’s look at our bullpen:

Roberto Osuna:

April: 5.62 ERA, 3 saves, 3 blown saves. Batters hit .313/.303/.469.

May: 1.42 ERA, 8 saves, no blown saves. Batters hit .159/.196/.250.

A rough April, followed by a great May, pretty much the way the team went. Getting the 2 strikeouts to end the game, yesterday, was pretty amazing. You think that he works best under pressure?

Ryan Tepera:

April: 5.93, 1 win, 1 save, 1 loss. Batters hit .224/.309/.347 in 13.2 innings.

May: 0.54, 2 wins, 3 holds, 1 blow save. Batters hit .132/.270/.151 in 16.2 innings.

He’s got a 26.3% strikeout rate going. I think he’s played himself off the Buffalo/Toronto shuttle.

Joe Smith:

April: 2.92, 2 holds. Batters hit .244/.292/.356 in 12.1 innings.

May: 3.38, 1 win, 7 holds. Batters hit .224/.294/.327 in 13.1 innings.

He’s been consistent. In total he’s had 39 strikeouts in his 25.2 innings. Last year he had an 18.4% strikeout rate. This year it’s 37.9%. Pete Walker deserves a fair bit of credit, but Smith credits the ‘high performance’ staff. I don’t know if he can keep his strikeout rate near 40%, but he’s been pretty amazing.

Aaron Loup:

April: 1.04. Batters hit .242/.375/.242 in 8.2 innings.

May: 3.27, 2 wins, 2 holds. Batters hit .233/.327/.349 in 11.0 innings.

He only had one bad game in May, he gave up 3 runs, against Cleveland, back on May 9th. And he hasn’t hit a batter since May 17th.

Danny Barnes:

April: 0.00, Batters hit .176/.222/.176 in 4.2 innings.

May: 3.24, 1 win, 2 losses, 1 hold, 1 blown save. Batters hit .210/.269/.371 in 16.2 innings.

He had 23 strikeouts in his 16.2 innings in May. Gibby seems to be pairing him up with Tepera, picking when he thinks Tepera’s fastball will be better than Barnes’ changeup. I think Gibby’s been using them well.

Dominic Leone:

April: 4.76, 1 blown save. Batters hit .250/.300/.523 in 11.1 innings.

May: 3.38, 1 win. Batters hit .196/.283/.348 in 13.1 innings.

Now he’s back in Buffalo. I don’t know who is going to pick up his innings. I’d bet will see him back before the end of June.

Jason Grilli:

April: 7.27, 1 win, 3 losses, 1 save, 1 hold, 1 blown save. Batters hit .235/.350/.559 in 8.2 innings.

May: 5.40, 1 win, 1 loss. Batters hit .278/.333/.528 in 8.1 innings.

He’s been better of late. His last 3 innings, he’s allowed 2 hits, no runs and 3 strikeouts (Tom says, clutching at straws).

J.P. Howell:

April: 16.20, 1 win, 1 loss, 1 blown save. Batters hit .375/.545/1.000 in 1.2 innings.

May: 3.60. Batters hit .300/.417/.450 in 5 innings.

Gibby, for good reason, only uses J.P. either in blow outs or he has no other choice. He’s had 2 clean innings of work this year. At some point, if he doesn’t start pitching better, they are going to have to release him. The bullpen has been working so hard, it’s not good to have one member who you can’t use.