Mighty Morphin’ Starting Rotation

Go, go starting rotation!

Out of all the possible combinations of the Blue Jays starting five to begin the year, who could have imagined it would end up being Ricky Romero, Kyle Drabek, Brett Cecil, Jesse Litsch and Jo-Jo Reyes?

It just goes to show you how unforeseen circumstances like Brandon Morrow’s injury can change things. Out of all the candidates, Morrow’s trip to the DL opened the door the most for Kyle Drabek and Jo-Jo Reyes.


I figured the Blue Jays would at least give Reyes a shot at cracking the roster since he’s out of options, but I never anticipated it would be as a starting pitcher. It was assumed that he would break camp as a reliever since Jo-Jo never really had much success in the big leagues as a starter.

Jo-Jo Reyes might just be the next Dana Eveland, or even the next Ted Lilly. Maybe as the Tao of Stieb suggests, it really could be the Summer of Jo-Jo. And if that falls through, there’s always the Summer of George!

At first, the revamped starting rotation confused me a little bit, but then I realized it’s merely to split up the left-handers. The way it’s currently set up is lefty-righty-lefty-rigthy-lefty. There also might be a dosey-do at the end.

Fret not friends, because the order of which they start doesn’t really reflect the ranking of pitchers. Brian Tallet was penciled in as the number two starter last year after all, so that just goes to show you how much weight that argument carries.

If Brandon Morrow only misses one start as Bruce Walton indicated, then he should be ready to make the trip to Los Angeles for the series opener against the Angels on April 8th. If Morrow slots back in at the number two spot, that either moves Drabek to the end of the line or back to the minors.

That seems like the best route to take at this point; Kyle Drabek is essentially holding Brandon Morrow’s spot warm until he returns. In the meantime, if any other starters go down then Drabek will be there to fill the gap.

However, there’s no sense in keeping him in the rotation if there are five other guys that are healthy and doing their jobs. Unless Jo-Jo Reyes or Jesse Litsch pitch themselves off the team, the Blue Jays should try to limit Drabek’s service time as much as possible.

Over the course of the season, I have no doubts that the starting rotation will continue to morph and will take many different shapes. Just so long as the end game is an effective pitching staff, that’s all that really matters.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

3 thoughts on “Mighty Morphin’ Starting Rotation

  • March 25, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    I think they said that the rotation was more set up based on their spring schedules and how it would line up best going into the season. I'm sure lefty-righty splits probably had some consideration, but I think Drabek only had to sit an extra day to slip into Morrow's spot in the spring schedule so it was easy to slide him into the 2 spot of the rotation.

  • March 25, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    That's true. Also, Reyes is slotted to go fourth, not fifth, so the actual order is LRLLR, not that it makes a hill of bananas. If you think that batting order makes little impact, rotation order makes far less.

  • March 25, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Cool, thanks guys. I didn't realize Reyes is being slotted in at the #4 spot.

    I'm looking back at how the sequence of starts has gone down the past couple of weeks, and I'll admit it's a little confusing:

    Tues: Litsch
    Wed: Drabek
    Thurs: Reyes
    Fri: Morrow
    Sat: Cecil
    Sun: Listch
    Mon:Off Day
    Tues: Romero
    Wed: Reyes
    Thurs: Cecil

    So long as things line up properly, I'm cool with how the rotation is currently set up. But I have no clue how Bruce Walton and John Farrell figure it out.

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