4/27/2014 2:12 P.M. ET
Offence producing, while pitching has been lacking
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
TORONTO -- The offense has started to heat up, but the Blue Jays are still waiting for the pitchers to hold up their end of the bargain.
Toronto entered play Sunday afternoon averaging 5.29 runs over its past seven games. That should be more than enough run support, but despite the increased production, the club is just 2-5 over that same span.
The main reason has been because of prolonged struggles by the rotation and bullpen. The Blue Jays went into their series finale against the Red Sox having surrendered at least seven runs in their past four games.
"We're going to get better as a pitching staff, I can guarantee you that," Blue Jays starter Brandon Morrow said. "The offense is doing a great job. They're coming in every day giving us a chance to win, playing great defense. ... They're doing a great job, we have to step it up and be a lot more consistent throwing strikes."
Toronto's staff entered Sunday ranked 12th in the American League with a 4.60 ERA and second with 108 walks. The recent issues have been evenly split between the starters and bullpen as Sergio Santos, Steve Delabar and J.A. Happ combined to set a franchise record with eight walks in an inning April 17. Morrow came within one walk of another franchise mark with eight walks Saturday afternoon.
The struggles also meant the Blue Jays starters ranked third from the bottom in the AL with 127 2/3 innings. That's forced Toronto to carry eight relievers as the starting staff has frequently struggled to pitch late into games and have recorded six-plus innings just 10 times in 24 games.
Even though the problems have been relatively easy to pin down, the Blue Jays aren't about to publicly start pointing fingers. Catcher Dioner Navarro gets to see both sides of the issue, but doesn't think there's any added pressure on the offense.
"We play 162 games, we're going to have to score, sometimes, a lot of runs, sometimes just one run only," Navarro said. "We have what it takes, we have to keep working hard, keep battling our butts off and things are going to change. I think our starting pitching has to do a much better job and our offense has to do a much better job. We have to score more runs than the other team and that's the bottom line."
Prospect Stroman's start pushed back to Tuesday
TORONTO -- Right-hander Marcus Stroman's next start with Triple-A Buffalo has been pushed back to Tuesday night.
Stroman was scheduled to pitch Saturday night, but his outing was postponed because of rain. The timing of his next outing is particularly interesting because it lines up perfectly with Dustin McGowan's scheduled start in Kansas City.
The news of Stroman's rescheduled outing was first reported by Sportsnet and has since been confirmed by MLB.com. He will take the mound against Louisville in a 6:05 p.m. ET start in Buffalo.
McGowan is scheduled to make at least one more outing, but the Blue Jays are monitoring him closely. The veteran right-hander transitioned to a starting role in the spring, but recently admitted he has been getting fatigued around the 60-pitch mark.
A strong outing vs. the Royals would likely guarantee McGowan another start, but if he struggles his spot in the rotation would appear to be in jeopardy. Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said earlier this week that "I've always been a big fan of him in the bullpen" and that could be McGowan's future role unless he finds a way to pitch deeper into games.
Stroman has gotten off to a fast start in Buffalo. He is 1-2 with an impressive 2.18 ERA while striking out 26 over 20 2/3 innings. Stroman competed for a spot in the rotation this spring, but the Blue Jays wanted to give him a little bit more time in the Minor Leagues.
McGowan has a 6.88 ERA in four starts. He has pitched more than four innings in just one outing and has experienced a lot of difficulty throwing his curveball after not needing it last year while working in relief.