Heading into the postseason for the first time since 1993, the Toronto Blue Jays are shuffling their bullpen roles around, primarily with Aaron Sanchez.
"I think you might see [Sanchez] in the seventh inning on occasion. Depending on if there's a heavy lefty group coming up in the eighth -- middle of the order type guys -- we might pitch him in the seventh," Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker said Tuesday via Sportsnet. "It just gives us more flexibility."
Sanchez has struggled in his last five appearances, giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings. He's given up three runs in his last two appearances without recording an out.
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The shuffling of Sanchez is also due in part to the emergence of Brett Cecil, who hasn't allowed an earned run since June.
"It depends on the situation, on who pitched the previous day, on who's available, on righty, lefty situations -- there's still going to be plenty of opportunities for [Sanchez] to pitch in the eighth inning. But maybe earlier at times, too," Walker said. "He's going to get some huge outs for us down the road. But he may be used an inning earlier at times."
As the Kansas City Royals proved last season, a strong bullpen is invaluable in a postseason run. If the Jays want to repeat their success, they will need to figure out a solution that works within these final couple weeks.