Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Blue Jays manager Gibbons says it’s too early to focus on the negatives

Houston Astros' Robbie Grossman rounds the bases after his two-run homer as Toronto Blue Jays pitcher R.A. Dickey makes his way back to the mound during fifth inning AL baseball action in Toronto on Thursday April 10, 2014.


Don't go asking Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons about his team's inability to close out series in a positive fashion, one of the nasty little habits - along with Brett Lawrie's continued struggles at the plate - that has emerged through the first two weeks of the season.

It is just too early to get all worked up about that.

"We're disappointed but they outplayed us," Gibbons said Thursday night, the "they" in this case the Houston Astros, who hung on for a 6-4 victory over Toronto to avoid a three-game at Rogers Centre.

Story continues below advertisement

"It's simple," Gibbons continued. "When you get a good effort on the mound, from either side, which ever way it goes you've got a chance to win that night. It's not like other sports where you can overpower somebody, like football. If they're good over there, they're good over there, and they got the clutch hits."

And, hey, whatever misgivings you might have about Toronto's 5-5 beginning to the Major League Baseball season, take a gander at the standing.

There are the Blue Jays, warts and all, still tied in first place in the American League East, along with the New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays, as they head out for what is their first long road trip of the season.

Just 152 more games left to go in this one, folks.

Looking to plunder the lowly Houston Astros for the third straight game, the Blue Jays ran smack into the hot left hand of Dallas Keuchel, who handcuffed Toronto over seven innings, allowing just one run off five hits, to earn the win.

With the loss, the Blue Jays once again failed to conclude a series in a positive, statement-making fashion, for the third time of the young season.

It began in Tampa against the Rays where Toronto had a rare opportunity to get out of town with a series victory only to lose 7-2 in the final game to settle for a split in the four games.

Story continues below advertisement

Back at home for the season home opener against the New York Yankees, the Blue Jays could have produced a series win over their arch AL East rival, but dropped the deciding game, 6-4.

Then it was on to the Astros, where the Blue Jays had the opportunity to stomp the league's ugly ducklings into the ground by winning three straight, only to see it flutter away like an R.A. Dickey knuckleball.

Although his knuckleball had great movement and the Blue Jays starter felt early on he was headed for a complete game, the home run once again proved to be the "hiccup" in Dickey's outing.

He allowed two of them, which resulted in five of the Astros runs over seven innings of work, and that was enough to allow Houston liftoff.

"You certainly see it as an opportunity to pounce and it's unfortunate when you can't and you feel like you should," Dickey said, when asked about Toronto's inability to close out. "But this game, it can be cruel.

"It doesn't matter if you're the New York Yankees or the Houston Astros. They're big league ballplayers on the other side of that diamond. And if you leave a ball up over the plate they're going to hit it. It doesn't matter who they are so you've got to keep executing and you've got to keep running out at-bats, got to keep eating up innings. And I think we'll do that."

Story continues below advertisement

While Melky Cabrera recorded two hits to extend his season-opening hit streak to 10 games, and Colby Rasmus knocked his first home run of the season, the news on the batting front for Lawrie continues to be bleak.

The third baseman looks lost at the plate, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, to see his average dip to .108.

Again, Gibbons said he is not worried.

"You know what, he's not going anywhere," Gibbons said. "And I believe in the kid, we all do. He's a better hitter than you're seeing right now. Everybody in this room, we've seen him hit.

"He hasn't put it all together yet but we all think he's going to. He can help us win games with his glove, that can be just as important."

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to