The best strikeout machine in the American League this season? Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Kevin Gausman, 32. Ironically, Toronto can’t afford to bask in Gaussman’s glory.

In his last start against the Houston Astros at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Gaussman went seven innings, allowing one run on four hits (one home run) with 13 strikeouts to improve to 5-3 on the season. His ERA was 2.63.

This season, Gaussman hasn’t had much luck. He went 2-2 with a 2.33 ERA in six games in April and 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in five games in May. In June, however, he went 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA in two starts. In both games, he earned the win and actually allowed just one run in 13⅔ innings.

In the process, he struck out 24 batters. He struck out 54 batters in 38⅔ innings in April and 35 batters in 29⅔ innings in May, so his strikeout pace in the two June games is quite impressive. He has a mid-90s fastball with a powerful splitter and changeup. He has struck out 10 or more batters in six of his 13 games this season.

He leads the American League in strikeouts. His 113 strikeouts are 17 more than Shohei Ohtani (LA Angels), who has 96. He’s also tied with Spencer Strider (Atlanta Braves) for first in all of Major League Baseball. Strider has 113 strikeouts in 82 innings, while Gausman has 113 strikeouts in just 69⅔ innings.

Gausman also leads the American League with 12.40 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s second at 12.17. In the majors, he is third behind Strider at 14.60 and Hunter Green (Cincinnati Reds) at 12.77. In addition, Gaussman’s 6.28 K/BB is third in the American League and third in the majors.

Gaussman is Toronto’s de facto ace. However 메이저사이트, the Jays don’t have time to sit back and watch him pitch. Internally, the starting rotation is in crisis. Alex Manoa (1-7, 6.36 ERA in 13 starts) has been sent down to the Rookie League after struggling mightily. No matter who replaces him, a weakening of the back end of the rotation is inevitable.

A solid 1-4 start would be enough to lay the groundwork for a decent position in the pennant race. However, Toronto doesn’t have a reliable starter outside of acquisition Chris Bassett (7-4 with a 3.29 ERA in 13 games). Jose Berrios has rebounded with a 5-4 record and 3.66 ERA in 12 games, but it’s not overwhelming. Yusei Kikuchi has struggled since May. He’s 6-2 with a 4.40 ERA in 12 starts.

The best-case scenario for Toronto is that Hyun-jin Ryu returns and has the impact he had in 2020 and early 2021 to form a one-two punch with Gaussman. However, The Athletic reported on July 7 that Toronto could trade the starter. There are no guarantees that a pitcher coming off Tommy John surgery and rehabilitation will return to form immediately. As such, the health and performance of Ryu, who is expected to return after the All-Star break, will have a significant impact on Toronto’s offense this season. For now, they’ll need to fill the Manoa void until Ryu returns.

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