The once feared offence remains dazed and confused as the Toronto Blue Jays continue to fumble their playoff hopes away with a horrid performance over the course of the second half of the season.
After being rocked by the Boston Red Sox for a 4-3 loss in 10 innings on Monday night at Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays have fallen back into third place in the American League East standings, nine games back of of the Baltimore Orioles.
This after leading the A.L. East by as many as six games back on June 6.
And in the wild card race playoff race, the Blue Jays have drifted back to seventh place among teams still in contention for two playoff openings, 5 1/2 back of the second wild card spot with 31 games left.
Let the hand-wringing begin about what went wrong and you can start with an offence that has been truly offensive as the regular-season games became more meaningful.
The Blue Jays are now 6-15 for the month of August, a dismal span in which the club has only managed to score 65 runs, tying Toronto with the last-placed Chicago White Sox for the fewest in Major League Baseball.
The 10 home runs the team has managed is also the worst figure in baseball.
Toronto manager John Gibbons believes that there might be something to the theory that as the losses mounted the Blue Jays hitters have started to shoulder more and more responsibility for the team's failures.
And the added pressure has only dragged the hitters down instead of spurring them on.
"It's hard to say," Gibbons said following Monday's loss. "We have run into some good pitching, but still we're a team that should score runs, and we haven't been doing that. It's tough to hit a baseball, arguably one of the toughest things to do in all of sports, so it's not easy."
That task becomes even more difficult, Gibbons said, when runners get on base.
"The mind's a powerful thing, especially in hitting," he said. "You get a little distracted and you get a little anxious or whatever it is, start pressing if you're struggling or the team's struggling. It definitely affects you.
"You've got to be loose and relaxed up there and that's easier said than done sometimes."
At least the Blue Jays displayed some spunk in their series opener against the Red Sox despite being limited to two hits over the first eight innings by Boston starter Clay Buchholz as the Red Sox carried a 3-0 lead into the ninth.
There the Blue Jays staged a frenzied rally and could have easily walked off with a win had an Edwin Encarnacion drive to left field with two out been a foot or two higher and cleared the wall.
Instead, the ball stayed in the yard for a two-out double that knotted the score to send the game into extra innings.
In the top of the 10th, with Aaron Sanchez on the mound, Boston's Yoenis Cespedes took advantage of the rookie's inexperience and lashed a single up the middle that scored Brock Holt with the winning run.
Cespedes teed off on a Sanchez curve ball that caught too much of the plate, the wrong pitch at the wrong time to a hitter of that calibre.
"In that situation that ball needs to be in the dirt," Sanchez said afterward.Report Typo/Error
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