The old adage of quality over quantity is dead.
In Toronto, anyway—for now.
When Roy Halladay left, there was a commotion over who would handle his superhuman workload. The Doc ate innings like an elephant eats peanuts. And he never forgot to snarl while he did so.
Halladay had 22 quality starts last season; the next closest starter was Ricky Romero with 16. That's coupled with Halladay topping over 200 innings for four years straight. If you heard Halladay's name in a conversation, it was mandatory that the words "work" and "ethic" were included, according to the bylaws of the Baseball Discussion Bureau of North America.
Surely the Jays would be distraught without their Doctorate in Advanced Outings.
The sky hasn't fallen, no matter what the reason is as to why they keep closing the roof at Rogers Centre.
Toronto has been pleasantly surprised by their starting pitching thus far. The starting rotation has combined for 18 quality starts (second in MLB), because of some timely contributions.
Leading the way are Shaun Marcum and Ricky Romero. The two have cemented a Jays rotation that had valid questions before the start of the season.
Both have five quality starts a piece, and both have tossed nearly seven innings an outing. Neither have thrown a complete game yet, but they've been as good as Toronto needs them to be.
Behind them, Brandon Morrow has been quietly shaping himself into form. Today's game against Cleveland provided him with some difficulty, but he still struck out nine en route to a no-decision.
Morrow has three quality starts already, one less than his entire career total. He's been erratic at times, but he also has 42 K's in his six starts. Despite never having thrown more than 69 innings in a season, Morrow's performance has hinted that he's capable of exceeding that number.
The bottom of Toronto's rotation has been in flux, but Dana Eveland has battled, and Brett Cecil channeled Dave Stieb in last night's work of art.
Toronto's starters are giving this team a new lease on the season.
This team was going to get its hits, but there was no way of knowing how the pitching would shake out. The rotation has put the Jays in a position to win, and that's happened enough for Toronto to sneer at the critics who pegged them for the AL East's basement.
Quality pitching has been in quantity so far. They've done it by striking out 218 batters (second in MLB) and minimizing mistakes (a 1.27 WHIP, seventh in MLB).
The rotation has also managed to preserve their arms by keeping at-bats short. The Jays are averaging only 3.8 pitches per plate appearance. It's an indication that this rotation will survive this season more or less intact.
Quality through quantity.