Youngsters pitching in

With the emergence of youngsters Shaun Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Jessie Litsch, the Blue Jays have enjoyed a number of solid pitching performances in the second half of the season. In fact, entering action against the Angels on Tuesday night, Toronto’s pitching staff leads the majors with a 3.40 ERA since the all-star break. Overall, the club’s 4.11 ERA currently ranks fourth in the American League, and would mark the second-lowest ERA — if the season ended today — that the Blue Jays have posted since 1997.

The lowest ERA Toronto has ever posted in a single season came during the 1985 campaign, in which the club won its first-ever AL East division title. The Blue Jays’ ERA that year was 3.29 — which helped lead to a franchise-record 99 wins.

Dave Stieb led the Toronto pitching staff that year with an American League best 2.48 ERA. Meanwhile, Jimmy Key — in his first season as a starter — posted a 14-6 record and a 3.00 ERA. Doyle Alexander and Jim Clancy recorded ERA’s of 3.45 and 3.78, giving the four primary Toronto starters a combined ERA of 3.10.

Out of the bullpen, Bill Caudill posted a 2.99 ERA in 67 appearances, while newly-acquired right-hander Tom Henke pitched to a 2.03 ERA.

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