It's probably easy to forget this after the shit kicking that the Jays took in the first two games of the Rays series, but their rotation - or, at least 60% of it - has been something to behold thus far into the season. Take a gander through the league leaders, and you'll find three Jays starters in the top 20 of the ERA, WHIP and Ks.
Ricky Romero is currently sitting in third in strikeouts (86), ninth in ERA (3.06) and 17th in WHIP (1.20), while Shaun Marcum is 15th (65), 16th (3.38) and 7th (1.13) respectively. Brett Cecil doesn't have the innings to rack up the counting stats, so he's sitting back in 39th overall in strikeouts, but his 3.22 ERA is good for 13th while his 0.99 WHIP places him third. (And if you need him, Brandon Morrow's 74 Ks are good enough for 7th. So there.)
Maybe this has crept up on some of you who were inclined to follow along with the notion that the absence of Roy Halladay was going to create a giant sucking vacuum in the rotation, and that the 100-loss season would certainly ensue because one-fifth of the starting corps was gone. "A bunch of guys named 'Who?'" is the laugh line that we seem to recall.
But last night's awesomely manly performance by Cecil brought us back to remembering how much we've enjoyed the pitching performances from the top three so far this year, with the occasional quality start from Morrow tossed in for good measure. The Jays numbers as a starting rotation sit in the middle in both the AL (6th of 14) and MLB (16th of 30) in terms of ERA, although with the improvement seen in Morrow, the expulsion of some of the lesser lights and reinforcements on the way (Litchtits!!!1), we're cautiously optimistic that the starting pitching can actually improve.
With a team that is sitting three and a half games back in the Wild Card chase in a season that was supposed to be lost before it got underway, we really hope people start to recognize how much great baseball our guys are playing, and how close this team is to making the next step.
(And yeah, we're a hopeless booster for this team. We wouldn't have poured all of these hours and all of the effort into this little ratfuck of a blog if we weren't hopelessly devoted to this team. If you want someone to be cynically aloof about the Jays in 2010 and in the future, there are an infinite number of options out there for you.)
Speaking of next steps...
It's the National League for the next two weeks, and we have a whole lot of stuff to say about the Rockies, Padres, Cards and whoever. But we'd rather leave The Ack something to talk about this weekend.