One to forget
The Blue Jays will fly back home on Sunday night and I don’t think I’m going out on a limb by saying the last thing they want to be thinking about over the next 24 hours is just how poorly things went on this six-game road trip. Toronto entered games against Tampa Bay and Texas having won four of its past five, including a mini two-game sweep of the Yankees.
They now leave Arlington having lost five straight and the main reason can be found with the recent struggles in the starting rotation. The pitching staff had been the club’s biggest surprise for most of the season but at least for one week it has become their biggest weakness. That has all kinds of people on Twitter and other forms of social media claiming that the roof is now caving in on this team but there’s one important thing to remember: The club is never as good as it looks during a prolonged winning streak and it’s never as bad as it looks during a prolonged slump. The truth likely can be found somewhere in the middle.
Toronto possessed the second Wild Card as recently as last week but now sit one game out of last place in the competitive American League East. Things do need to turn around rather quickly and the walks currently being issued by the pithcers certainly need to reduced but it is far too early to write this team off. Afterall, they’re just a small four-game winning streak away from everyone jumping back on the bandwagon and pronouncing this as a postseason contender.
There will be lots of highs and lows along the way and truth is we’re not going to see exactly what direction this club is headed in for quite awhile longer. Here are today’s leftovers from John Farrell, Jose Bautista and a very frustrated Kyle Drabek:
On being swept…
“I wouldn’t dwell on it too much. It was just a bad road trip. It’s happened before and it will happen again. We just have to go home and focus on who we have coming in and try to beat them.”
On critics saying this road trip is an indication that the club is not a contender…
“Everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, I don’t agree with that. To me, this road trip or any other road trip is no measuring stick for how the rest of the season is going to go. Again, those games are over, we can’t go back in time and change them. We just have to win tomorrow night.”
Indication of how good the Rangers are or how poorly Blue Jays are playing…
“We haven’t played bad baseball. We ran into a team that’s hitting the ball pretty good, not much we can do about that. All we have to do is keep doing what we’re doing, keep battling, we haven’t given up, we were putting some runs on the board except for the first day here and that’s all we can do. We’re playing good baseball, we just have to continue to do it, we can’t really think abotu these losses and let that affect the way we play the rest of the way.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with how good or bad we’re playing. We ran into a team that’s hitting the ball very, very well. The result of these three games is more a result of how they’re hitting the ball and not how we’re playing.”
On Darvish now versus his outing in Toronto…
“I didn’t think his velocity was the same. I didn’t think his pitches were moving as good but somehow he still managed to make a good pitch when he needed to and he got out of some jams. We managed to put up three runs but it could have been a lot worse for him and I think he got away with one today.”
“We ran into a hot-hitting club. Seemingly, no matter who was on the mound if we made a pitch on the plate, made a mistake in the strike zone, they covered it, squared up a lot of balls. Then you find yourself down a number of runs, it takes away from our ability to be that much more aggressive on the basepaths to create some things and you have to swing your way back into it.
“This was a tough road trip. We go back kind of limping with Yunel banged up with his groin, Kelly with his hamstring situation. I think Jesse came in and did everything we asked to give us a number of innings. I thought he handled himself well, a good loose delivery, a lot of strikes, stayed out of the middle of the plate for the most part.”
“He’s day-to-day at this point. He was examined, he’s got a groin issue going on. He felt that when he was going first to third early in the ballgame. We just have to be precautionary with what he’s got taken place right now.”
“He found himself in a lot of hitters’ counts and then when he made a pitch on the plate, they’re swinging the bats so well right now there was really no room for error. A number of fastball counts to the pull side and the way the ball is flying here, the way they can hit, just a tough combination today.”
Rotation coming back down to earth after a strong start?
“We’ve gone through a turn through the rotation where it certainly has been less than we’ve pitched the previous 35 ballgames this season. It’s obviously taxed our bullpen a lot. We’ve got to get back to what has made this group of five successful and that’s pitching ahead in the count, not issuing the number of base-on-balls that we’ve gone through in this stretch and we’ve got to get back to playing the type of baseball that we’ve had. That’s the starters controlling it from the outset and giving our offense a chance to get on track.”
Entering this road trip on a good roll…
“We had some momentum going into this road trip, there’s no doubt about it. We played very well on the previous homestand, we ran up against two very good teams. We had a couple of tough losses late but we’ve got to re-group. We’ve got Baltimore coming in here tomorrow and it’s going to go back to anytime we’re in these type of stretches where wins have been tough to come by it’s going to point even further to the rotation to set the tone.
“It’s a turn through the rotation that has been bumpy. We’ve got to get back to the basics of controlling the count, attacking the strike zone with strikes and trying to eliminate the number of situations where we’re fighting back into the count.”
“Had to show up for the team and I didn’t do that.
“When I was throwing balls they weren’t swinging and when I was throwing strikes they were hitting them. It was as simple as that.”
A start you just want to forget about?
“I’ll forget about it but I need to learn from it. I need to go back from square one in spring training, maybe get the ropes back out there, figure something out because doing that is not going to help the team, any.”
“I don’t think it was mechanical but it’s going back to where I’m cutting the ball and have to find that command I had in Spring Training.
“You can’t throw balls and then force yourself to throw a strike down the middle. When you do that any good hitter is going to hit it.”
Most frustrating part?
“We needed a big win, to go home with a win, we ended up getting some runs but I just wasn’t there for the team.”