Partners in crime

Including last night’s 6-4 victory over the Orioles, right-hander A.J. Burnett has now picked up the win in each of his last three starts, improving his record to 5-3 on the season. With his injury problems behind him (hopefully), it appears Burnett is now ready to be the true No. 2 man in Toronto’s rotation. Between himself and teammate Roy Halladay, who is healing quickly following his recent appendectomy, the two starters have combined for nine wins so far this year. That ranks fourth (tied with Tigers) in the American League among team’s top two hurlers (entering action Wednesday night). Boston’s Josh Beckett (7) and Daisuke Matsuzaka (6) lead the way with 13 combined victories.

During the team’s 30-year history, the Blue Jays have had several successful 1-2 punches in the win column. The first duo was Dave Stieb (17) and Jim Clancy (16), who combined for 33 wins in 1982. Stieb (16) then matched that feat with Doyle Alexander (17) in ’84. 21 years later, Halladay won a franchise-record 22 games and teamed up with Kelvim Escobar (13) to post 35 wins between the two of them in 2003. That wasn’t enough to match what Roger Clemens (21) and Pat Hentgen (15) accomplished in 1997 though, as the two combined for 36 wins that season. But even that wasn’t good enough to set a team record.

That mark belongs to Jack Morris (21) and Juan Guzman (16), who joined forcesJuan_guzman_autograph to record 37 wins during the Jays’ 1992 World Series-winning campaign. Morris became Toronto’s first 20-game winner that season, while Guzman recorded career-bests in wins and ERA (2.64), and also made his first and only appearance in the All-Star game that year.

For interest’s sake, it should be noted that through May 23 1993, Morris and Guzman had combined for 10 wins up to that point. Morris was 4-2 with a 4.04 ERA, while Guzman was a scorching 6-0 with a 2.09 ERA.

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