By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
When Ryan Tepera induced a 5-4-3 double play off the bat of Whit Merrifield in the eighth inning of the Toronto Blue Jays' 5-2 win over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, the Blue Jays formally established a new franchise record for relief innings pitched with 553 1/3 on the season.
The previous high of 552 2/3 had been set in 2013 when - led by Aaron Loup's 2.47 ERA- the Blue Jays' relief staff pitched to a cumulative ERA of 3.37, the ninth-best total in Major League Baseball.
Naturally, it Was Tepera himself who helped eclipse the team record on Tuesday.
Entering Wednesday's tilt vs. the Royals, the Texas native has amassed a grand total of 74 2/3 innings over 69 games in 2017. In addition to being team highs, those totals rank eighth and ninth among all Major League relievers, respectively.
Given their lofty inning totals, the Blue Jays' relief corps has also racked up a new season best in strikeouts with 588, 78 more than their previous record of 510, also established in 2013.
Roberto Osuna leads the bullpen with 79 strike outs on the year, while both Tepera and Dominic Leone are tied for the second-most with 77 each.
Osuna's total represents the most strikeouts in a season by a full-time Blue Jays reliever since B.J. Ryan recorded 86 over 65 appearances (72 1/3 IP) in 2006.
Submarine throwing right-hander Mark Eichhorn holds the all-time franchise record with a 166 through an otherworldly 157 innings of pure relief work in 1986.
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