Pitching Injuries Becoming All Too Familiar For The Blue Jays
For the first six weeks of this season, the Toronto Blue Jays have been digging themselves into a hole. Some say this hole is close to becoming too deep to climb out of. Others have said it is still early and the team will come around in time for the playoff chase in September. But it is not just the wins or losses that have bitten the Blue Jays. In the last three to four weeks the team has seen three of its starting pitchers go down with injury.
April 21st was the last time newly acquired Josh Johnson pitched in a game. A triceps problem was initially thought to keep the former All—Star out a start, maybe two, but it appears as though he will not return until June. Brandon Morrow has been bothered by neck and back problems since his last start nine days ago against the Seattle Mariners, and has now been scratched for his latest start which was scheduled for tomorrow against the San Francisco Giants. To top that off we had the potential fatal injury with J.A. Happ, who suffered a fractured skull and sprained knee after being hit in the head by a line drive straight off the bat. Starting to sound familiar?
You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking so as a similar situation occurred in the 2012 season, with three of the Blue Jays’ starting rotation going down within the space of a week. Morrow, Kyle Drabek and newly promoted Drew Hutchison all missed large chunks of the year, with the latter two still yet to appear in a competitive game since. At the time of the first injury, the Blue Jays stood at 31-32 and within 6.5 games out of first place in the AL East. The three injuries caused havoc and the team went 42-57 for the remainder of the season, which was 22 games short of the AL East lead.
Now the Blue Jays are already in a hole and these crippling injuries are sure to give skipper John Gibbons plenty of problems and a headache or two in the coming weeks. In five spot starts this season, Aaron Laffey, Ramon Ortiz, Chad Jenkins and Ricky Romero have combined for a 1-3 record and 5.82ERA. You don’t have to be a baseball expert to know that the Blue Jays cannot continue with this going forward. For a playoff chasing team, this simply does not cut it.
It is important however not to get ahead of ourselves and make up scenarios that have yet to happen. Unlike the injuries last year, the injuries of 2013 don’t seem to be season ending as of yet. IF and WHEN July 31st and the non-waiver trade deadline comes around and the starting rotation is still depleted, then trading for a starting pitcher may be inevitable. A long way to go until then, but it doesn’t look good going forward. As ever, go Jays!