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The user's guide to the Toronto bullpen

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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Let's extract the B.J. Ryan discussion from Closing Time, because it's clearly a subject that requires additional details. In honor of B.J., please try to pretend that we're lobbing this information at you at 88 mph, and it's just not going where we want it to.

After Ryan blew a relatively easy save opportunity against the Rangers on Wednesday (three-run lead, the bottom of the order due up), Toronto manager Cito Gaston declined to give him a vote of confidence. This from the Jays' website:

In the wake of the loss, Gaston was not willing to say Ryan would get the nod when the next save chance came up.

"I would say it's too early," Gaston said.

Later, we learn that a meeting is scheduled:

"We have to sit down and talk with B.J. and certainly talk with J.P. [Ricciardi],"Gaston said. "[Ryan] is having trouble with his control, to me. I don't know if he's hurting or not hurting, but we'd certainly like to see him do a little bit better than that. That's not going to get it for us.

"It's just one of those things where we'll sit and talk about it and I'll talk to B.J. myself and see what he feels about what's going on out there."

Ryan's issues on Wednesday weren't so much about velocity as location. He threw 87-89 mph, which is basically where he sat last year. But Ryan also hit a batter, walked a batter, and he gave up a home run on a pitch that was nowhere near the target. (Check the link above for video evidence). In 5.2 innings so far this year, he's allowed two homers, five walks and seven runs.

If a change is going to be made, you can't necessarily expect Gaston to announce a specific replacement, interim or otherwise. We know, however, that Scott Downs was Plan B entering the season, and he's been excellent over 8.2 innings: 1.04 ERA, 0.46 WHIP, 13 Ks. He's the guy I'd add today, if he's available.

Jason Frasor has been nearly flawless so far as well. In six innings, he's allowed only two hits and one walk, and he has eight Ks. He earned the win last night, pitching two perfect innings in relief of Ryan. If Downs is already rostered, then Frasor would be the speculative add.

It's important to note that Downs has really been outstanding for the past two years; Frasor has been outstanding for the past two weeks.

If/when Gaston discusses his bullpen again, we'll discuss it, too. He seemed to leave the door open to a DL visit with that "I don't know if he's hurting" stuff. Toronto gets the Rangers again tonight, and the team won't have an off-day until May 11. The schedule ahead is relatively friendly: at CHW, at KC, vs. BAL, vs. CLE, at LAA, at OAK.

PM Update: Ryan went on the disabled list Thursday afternoon, and Downs is "more than likely" to close in the words of Gaston. The Jays also put Ricky Romero (oblique) on the 15-day DL.


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