Nate Pearson should be pitching in more high-pressure sitautons for the Blue Jays moving forward

Photo credit:© Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Shushkewich
1 year ago
A few years ago during the shortened 2020 season, Nate Pearson made his Major League debut with the Blue Jays, tossing five scoreless against the Washington Nationals and amassing five strikeouts, with his first setting down shortstop Treat Turner swinging.
Fast forward three seasons and the former top prospect is not in the starting rotation and also didn’t start this season in the big leagues either, with the 6 foot 5 right-hander being recalled from Triple-A on April 24th when Adam Cimber was placed on the 15-day IL. Since 2020, numerous injuries have limited Pearson to just 17 appearances at the big-league level with only five outings being out of the rotation, which is one of the big factors as to why the Florida product is working out of the bullpen this year.
Since being called up, Pearson has been one of the Blue Jays’ most dependable relievers, appearing in 11 games and amassing a 1.93 ERA through 14 innings, racking up 14 strikeouts compared to 11 hits with a 1.143 WHIP. Pearson has allowed three earned runs and one home run since being called up and has just five walks on record, with his command being a massive improvement compared to his prior seasons. In terms of his usage, the Jays reliever has been used across the latter half of the game, with most of his appearances coming in the eighth inning (five). His worst stats come during the sixth inning, where he has allowed two runs and three walks against 11 batters, facing the Yankees, Phillies, and Rays during those outings.
Nate Pearson – By Inning
5th inning11.000.00330000000.
6th inning31.2210.801172300032.429.546.429.974
7th inning21.100.00440000001.
8th inning55.000.0020181300016.
9th inning44.012.2517161420114.250.294.563.857
So far this year, the Blue Jays bullpen has seen its fair share of struggles and some bounce-back candidates that are performing well in their roles after struggling at times last season. Alongside Pearson, relievers Tim Mayza, Erik Swanson, and Trevor Richards all boast sub-4.00 ERAs while closer Jordan Romano sports a 3.00 ERA with 12 saves on the season. On the flip side, Cimber and Anthony Bass have struggled on the mound this year and Yimi García has been one the worst of the bunch, amassing a 6.46 ERA with a 1.563 WHIP through 25 outings.

Nate Pearson should be pitching in the setup role for the Blue Jays

García was one of the most dependable relief arms last season for the Blue Jays but this year, he is struggling to get outs in high-pressure situations, owning a 10.38 ERA while opponents are authoring a 1.069 OPS, .520 BAbip, and 10 earned runs through 8 2/3 innings in the eighth inning alone. Oddly enough, his other appearances outside of the eighth have gone well except for his two appearances in extra innings (another high-pressure situation), where he has allowed four earned runs through 10 at-bats. A similar sample size is his seventh-inning appearances, where through 8 1/3 innings of work, García boasts a 2.13 ERA while limiting opponents to a .194 average, allowing just two earned runs through 31 at-bats, both of which were solo home runs.
As a unit, the Blue Jays have been dreadful in the eighth inning, owning a collective 6.50 ERA while allowing 39 earned runs, the most of any inning past the fifth. Swanson has the most experience in the eighth but the likes of García, Cimber, Bass, and even Zach Pop in this position have not yielded the results the Jays need in such an important part of the game. This data also shows that Jordan Romano doesn’t fair well in the eighth inning as well, allowing three runs through six at-bats, almost pointing towards that Romano needs the increased pressure in the ninth inning.
Toronto Blue Jays Player Splits: 8th inning
Erik Swanson166153810303714.189.283.415.698.194
Yimi García124540815402413.375.444.6251.069.520
Tim Mayza925234510029.
Nate Pearson520181300016.
Zach Pop521185600135.333.429.500.929.417
Trevor Richards516121300143.250.438.500.938.250
Anthony Bass420175520234.294.400.7651.165.273
Adam Cimber312105310113.300.417.7001.117.333
Jordan Romano3663200101.333.333.8331.167.250
Kevin Gausman2770110003.
Chris Bassitt1330000000.
Thomas Hatch1430000013.
Jay Jackson1441100102.250.2501.0001.250.000
Team Total542442144154120122666.252.342.477.818.309
Moving forward, the Blue Jays need more from the eighth inning from their relief corps and it’s time to let Nate Pearson see some more time in this role and see García down in the middle relief area and out of the high-pressure situations, at least for the time being. While the club sits fifth in batting average (.223) and 13th in the league in terms of collective bullpen ERA (3.83), the Jays are in a tough AL East division and will need all the help they can get from their relief corps this season if they have postseason aspirations.


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