CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays came out of the All-Star break knowing full well that they needed to turn things around in a hurry before they could be considered realistic contenders in the American League East. It didn't happen.Toronto completed its 10-game road trip through Detroit, Boston and Cleveland by
CLEVELAND -- The Blue Jays came out of the All-Star break knowing full well that they needed to turn things around in a hurry before they could be considered realistic contenders in the American League East. It didn't happen.
Toronto completed its 10-game road trip through Detroit, Boston and Cleveland by getting swept by the Indians. The latest blow came with an 8-1 loss on Sunday afternoon as the Blue Jays dropped to 3-7 on the road trip and now find themselves 10 games under .500 for the first time since May 6.
The players inside the clubhouse insist they have not given up hope, and with more than two months remaining in the season the Blue Jays technically have a chance to get back into the race. But it won't be easy, nor is it particularly realistic. With the latest loss, Toronto dropped to 10 1/2 games back of first place in the division and 6 1/2 games back of the second AL Wild Card spot.
"This was certainly a tough one," Jose Bautista said of the road trip. "We lost some games we wish we would have won, but we can't dwell on it too much. All we can control is coming out in the following games and put in a better effort and hopefully get better results."
The losses have been disappointing enough, but the way Toronto has been losing most of its games has been even more disconcerting. The Blue Jays have lost by double digits five times and have been outscored, 133-68, in July. The minus-65 run differential is the worst mark ever for the franchise through 19 games of any month. It's also closing in on the minus-69 run differential from July 1977, which was the worst in Toronto history.
Toronto's July record of 7-12 isn't the worst thing in the world, but it's not nearly good enough to make up any kind of ground and get back into the race. The problems also have been touching all aspects of the roster, with the starting rotation posting a 5.51 ERA since the break and the offense averaging just 3.5 runs per game.
"I didn't know that number, but obviously it doesn't sound or look good I'm sure on paper -- but I mean a loss is a loss," Bautista said of the run differential. "At the end of the day, it doesn't really matter how many runs you lose by, you're still losing. All we can control are the games we have left and try to play better. That's all we can do."
There also have been a number of issues defensively. Josh Donaldson made a pair of costly throws from third base in Cleveland. Darwin Barney had a couple of miscues on Sunday afternoon, and left field continues to be an area of concern. Overall, the club hasn't been playing sharp baseball and it's clearly taking a toll on manager John Gibbons, who seems particularly unhappy with the way his team has been performing.
"It's been a frustrating trip," Gibbons said. "There were some games we had a chance to win and we couldn't win them. Today was just a [terrible] game all the way around. I can't describe it any better than that."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.