Three hits. Three solo shots runs. Three straight wins for the Chicago White Sox, who wrapped up a first series win over the Toronto Blue Jays since 2006 with a 7-2 rout Thursday night.
Toronto left-hander Aaron Laffey was understandably upset with his three lapses in concentration – which resulted in home runs for DeWayne Wise, Dayan Viciedo and a monster shot from Tyler Flowers - but he was also able to draw positives from an outing which dropped him to 3-4 on the season.
"I only gave up three hits. They were big hits," he lamented. "At least no one was on base, so I’ve eliminated that factor of it. I didn’t give up any multi-run homers. I felt good. After the first inning I got in a pretty good groove and don’t think I threw out of the stretch after the first inning, so that’s a pretty good sign as well."
Although there was enough blame to go around, the Cumberland, Md., native took the loss on the chin, taking responsibility for failing to keep the American League Central leaders in check.
"For me personally I get done that game and I’m sitting there and it just feels like I gave up 10 runs," he said." Regardless of how many runs I gave up, how many hits, at the end of those innings we were losing the game, we were down a run because I gave up those back-to-back homers."
In truth, Laffey was doomed as much by a lack of production from his teammates’ bats as anything he left over the plate. The imminent return of Brandon Morrow – who is due to make his second minor-league rehab start Sunday – will see one of the current rotation returned to the bullpen, but Blue Jays manager John Farrell was not about to hang this defeat, which drops Toronto to 55-63 on the season, on the 27-year-old.
"Our struggles to generate any kind of consistent offense showed up here again tonight," said the second-year Blue Jays skipper, who had to rely on rookie outfielder Moises Sierra’s two-run shot in the second inning to prevent being shut out at home.
Keeping faith with his left-hander, Farrell said that Laffey will get another start "as of right now, yes," but he had better hope the bats show up in support next time around.
Hopefully that will include Edwin Encarnacion, who leads the team with 30 home runs and 80 runs batted in, but was a game-time scratch from the lineup owing to the forearm and shoulder knocks he picked up trying to corral a difficult catch during Wednesday’s 9-5 loss to the White Sox. Encarnacion will be reevaluated Friday, but it will be yet another blow to Toronto’s injury-decimated roster if he’s out for any substantial length of time.
With regards to the other walking wounded among Toronto’s ranks, both reigning home run king Jose Bautista and third baseman Brett Lawrie are slowly returning to full fitness, with Bautista set to take live batting practice on the field over the weekend, while his Canadian teammate may return to the team for next Tuesday’s series in Detroit against the Tigers.