Brett Lawrie tries hard, there is no doubt about that, both on and off the field.
On the field the Toronto Blue Jays third baseman is as hyperkinetic as a hummingbird, all furious action, the throttle always pushed to the limit.
In the clubhouse, Lawrie tries his best to tone down his emotions, but he isn’t always successful.
The losing is starting to eat at him and you got the sense, after talking to him following Boston’s 3-1 victory over the Blue Jays on Thursday night at Rogers Centre, that it is also starting to affect the rest of the team.
“If we keep beating ourselves up it’s going to be a long year,” Lawrie responded when asked if the Blue Jays are finding it more and more difficult to keep their heads up as the losses keep mounting.
“I think that it's time to just start putting stuff behind us and just come here and play baseball,” Lawrie continued. “That's what we all got here doing and that's important. It's time to get out there and have that mentality of, let's go. I think we're just hesitant on that part right now.
“But you know it's there. We have strengths, but at the same time we just didn't get our job done tonight. And the beauty of this game is you're going to wake up tomorrow and you're going to come do it all over again."
At least Lawrie is starting to perform, which is more than you can say for many of his high-salaried teammates.
He slugged a home run leading off the game for the Blue Jays in the first inning, the seventh straight contest he has recorded at least a hit.
But it wasn’t enough as the Blue Jays squandered the few opportunities they had to score against Ryan Dempster and the Red Sox, allowing Boston to escape town with a 2-1 series victory.
Toronto (10-19), who begin a three-game series Friday night against the Seattle Mariners, have now lost three in a row, six of their last seven and eight of their last 10.
They appear to be setting in quite nicely into last place in the American League East.
"We had opportunities,” sighed Toronto manager John Gibbons. “It was a tight ball game where if you came up with a big hit there and move the baseball somehow, who knows it might turn out differently.”
But it didn’t.
Edwin Encarnacion came to the plate in the third inning with the Red Sox leading 2-1 and promptly hit into a 6-4-3 double play that killed the inning.
Adam Lind, hitting out of the two-hole, stuck out in the seventh with the sacks full after Boston had extended its lead to 3-1, and that was pretty much it.
Of Toronto’s seven hits, only Lawrie’s homer in the first went for extra bases. Toronto’s .228 team batting average ranks it dead last in the A.L.
And the Blue Jays would get no help on this night from J.A. Happ, their starting pitcher who could not find the strike zone.
Happ was hapless, lasting just 3 2/3 innings while surrendering a career high seven walks along the way, to see his record even out at 2-2.
"I don't have an exact answer,” Happ said when asked to try to pinpoint was led to his control issues. “I think there's a line between not giving in and making quality pitches. I was constantly on the wrong side of the line tonight. I made it tough on myself."
And now it is Ricky Romero to the rescue, the team’s former No. 1 who has been summoned from the minors where he worked all of one game to prove his control problems are now behind him.
Romero will get the start Friday night against tough Seattle righty Felix Hernandez.
Lawrie said he doesn’t believe the players are starting to beat themselves up as the losses keep piling up.
“I don't think guys are punching themselves in the head right now,” he said. “It's too early to tell, we're a month into the season. No one's beating themselves up.
“It's just a matter of coming in and doing a job and then coming away with a win. Wins are tough for us right now. But we're all going to keep grinding and go play for one another and just try and get this thing done."
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