The clubhouse was virtually empty in the aftermath of the Toronto Blue Jays’ third loss in their last four outings Tuesday night at Rogers Centre, save for the odd pitcher.
There was nary a batter in sight, which was apropos. They were also missing during the 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins.
The normally affable Adam Lind was spotted in front of his locker but he sent word, through an emissary, that he did not feel like talking.
After several weeks of a torrid offensive run that helped lift them to the top of the heap in the American League East standing, the Blue Jays vaunted offence has suddenly started sputtering.
In the three recent losses – to the Twins and the final two games in their series with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Blue Jays were held off the scoreboard. That’s not supposed to happen to a team that leads the A.L. in home runs and hits and is second in runs scored.
Before the slide, the Blue Jays had won six in a row.
“That’s baseball if you want to know the truth,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said of the recent offensive struggles. “Naturally it’s not a worry. You figure you’re going to cool off a little bit. We hit some balls on the money tonight, right at guys. But Correia [Minnesota starter Kevin Correia] I thought was hitting his spots pretty good, too.
“But that’s baseball, that’s the way it goes sometimes. And when you’re not hitting, you’re not scoring runs, you’ve got to match them on the mound and we didn’t do that.”
Gibbons is correct in his “nothing to see here, folks, let’s move along” attitude.
The dearth of offence will not last forever. The last time the Blue Jays were shutout in three of four games was back in 1990.
Despite their recent struggles, Toronto’s lead atop the A.L. East has been narrowed by only half a game to 5.5 over the Baltimore Orioles and New York Yankees, who also haven’t exactly been setting the world on fire of late with their play.
Those are the two teams that Toronto will head off to play following Wednesday afternoon’s series finale against the Twins at Rogers Centre.
The Blue Jays only managed seven hits against Minnesota, six of them to Correia, who hardly resembled a 3-7 starter during his six innings of effective work on Tuesday.
His counterpart for the Blue Jays, J.A. Happ, was not nearly as sharp, and was lifted after only 3.2-innings, having surrendered four runs (three of them earned) off six hits.
Happ, now 5-3 on the year, was getting ahead in the count on plenty of batters, but struggled in finishing them off.
“He had to work way too hard tonight,” Gibbons said. “They worked him pretty good. That’s the key to pitching. You want everybody to get ahead, but when you get ahead you’ve got to figure out how to put them away.
“We weren’t able to do that.”
Happ really did not have any explanation for his unproductive outing, insisting he felt fine on the mound.
But he said he did not think the Blue Jays offensive struggles would continue to be a storyline.
“We had such a good run there over the last couple of weeks, stuff like that’s bound to happen,” he said. “We ran into some good pitching. I don’t expect it to last long.”