Not the time to panic… yet!
Yes, the Blue Jays are not hitting and they are not winning like they did in May, but one must be reminded that it is a very long season… and one must not expect them to keep such a pace over the course of 162 games.
In the Twins series, the Jays started on the right foot as Edwin Encarnacion erased a 2-0 Twins lead with his 20th homerun, a three-run blast in the second inning.
Then, the defense took over for better and for worst. The defense kept the Jays in the lead until the ninth inning, when it allowed the Twins to tie the game.
Three double-plays kept the Jays in front, but Steve Tolleson could not complete a fourth double-play and Kevin Pillar’s bad judgment transformed a single into a double a a 4-4 tie in the ninth. Luckily, Pillar redeemed himself with the game winning hit in the bottom of the ninth.
If the Jays had a power surge on Monday, they never got going in the second game as they were shut out for the third time in four games, 4-0. They got seven hits, but none with men in scoring position. Brian Dozier struck in the first inning as he got to J.A. Happ with a two-run blast. Happ was not able to complete the thirs inning.
Things did not improve the next day as Phil Hughes handcuffed the Jays over the first seven innings, spreading seven hits while striking out nine batters.
Finally, in the eighth inning, the Jays prevented another shutout, scoring two runs off reliever Jared Burton.
Young Marcus Stroman pitched a decent game, giving up three runs on nine hits over the first six innings. But Bobby Korecky, just recalled from Buffalo, was roughed up for three more in two innings as the Jays lost 7-2.
In the first of four games in Baltimore, it was evident that a team which is struggling, often tries too hard. Jose Reyes was doubled up, going from first to third base on a Melky Cabrera’s grounder in the first inning and an early threat was thwarted.
Then, the Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a two-run homer by Delmon Young off Mark Buehrle. They were never threatened as the Jays stranded seven runners. Buehrle suffered his second loss as he allowed four runs on eight hits.
The next day, the Jays finally took an early lead when Juan Francisco hit a two-run homer, his 11th of the year, in the second inning. It was the first time in the last nine games that the Jays scored first. For Francisco, it spelled relief as the big man was hitting only ,133 since the beginning of June.
Drew Hutchison had another very strong start away from Rogers Centre, shutting out the Orioles on six hits, no walk, and three strikeouts over the first seven innings.
Dustin McGowan who seems very much at ease in his new role, gave up only one hit as the Jays ended their three-game losing streak with a 4-0 win.
On Saturday, the Jays were able to take the lead, 1-0, on a bases loaded walk, but to no avail. Only one of their nine hits came when they had men in scoring position as dropped a 3-2 decision.
R.A. Dickey suffered the loss and he had to leave the game in the sixth inning with a slight groin pull while Adam Lind was struck by a fall ball on his right foot and had to leave with a contuse. They are both day-to-day.
Trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning, Jose Bautista tried to scored from first on a double by Encarnacion, but was thrown out at the plate. The play was reviewed, but the umpires upheld the decision. Later in the inning, Brett Lawrie drove Encarnacion home with what could have been the tying run, but it was not enough.
The Jays had to leave Baltimore with at least a split in their four-game series and J.A. Happ made it possible when he shutout the Orioles over the first five innings as the Jays won 5-2.
Casey Janssen recorded his 12th save and the Jays knew they had to get their act together as they now move to Yankees Stadium for a three-game series, a place where last year they were winless in 10 games…