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Rotation woes continue in Victoria Day matinee

@baseballexis
May 20, 2019

TORONTO -- As the Blue Jays continue to look for ways to fill out their starting rotation amid an abundance of injury woes, the team didn’t exactly get what it was hoping for from 17-year veteran Edwin Jackson in Monday’s 12-2 loss to the Red Sox at Rogers Centre. After

TORONTO -- As the Blue Jays continue to look for ways to fill out their starting rotation amid an abundance of injury woes, the team didn’t exactly get what it was hoping for from 17-year veteran Edwin Jackson in Monday’s 12-2 loss to the Red Sox at Rogers Centre.

After allowing two two-out runs in the first inning -- one on an error -- Jackson appeared to settle in for the second frame, with a three-up, three-down inning. The 35-year-old right-hander ran into trouble again in the third, however, allowing four runs and digging the home team into a hole that was too deep to climb out of.

Box score

“The Red Sox [are] one of the best teams in baseball,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “And early on in the game, we didn’t make a couple of plays and they took advantage of it. That’s what they do. That’s what good teams do. And we didn’t play good behind Edwin and they took advantage of it. I thought Edwin pitched better than the numbers show.”

Added Jackson, “This is a tough team. You can’t afford to give extra outs any kind of way. As a starter, our mind is still to make pitches, but obviously with a deep lineup like this, with a team like this, they don’t miss mistakes too often as they showed today. You definitely have to minimize mistakes made when you’re pitching to these guys.”

The lone bright spot for the Blue Jays came by way of a Luke Maile two-run home run in the second inning, his second of the season. Following Maile’s homer, Toronto was held hitless for the final 7 1/3 innings, sending just one batter over the minimum to the plate in that span, with Freddy Galvis reaching on a walk in the seventh.

Making his second start for the Blue Jays -- acquired from the A's via trade on May 11 in order to bolster the rotation -- Jackson was coming off a no-decision in his last outing Wednesday in San Francisco, when the hurler made history by suiting up for his 14th Major League team. Jackson retired seven of his last eight batters on Monday, but his day ended after five innings, allowing six total runs (five earned) on seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts.

“It’s a matter of two pitches,” Jackson said. “I felt like if I made two pitches, this game could be a whole lot different. And obviously once things get out of hand from a starter standpoint, you just want to continue to finish strong.

“I felt like even after they scored those runs, that I continued to come back strong and tried to give our team a chance to keep us in the game and was able to do that, but I think the main thing is just eliminating damage when I had people on base and instead of a four-run inning, maybe a one or two-run inning and that game is still a different ballgame.”

Among those Toronto expected to make starts this season, Ryan Borucki and Clayton Richard have yet to appear -- out with left elbow inflammation and a right knee stress reaction, respectively -- while Matt Shoemaker is out for the year due to a torn left ACL and Clay Buchholz has been on the injured list with right shoulder inflammation since May 9.

Ahead of Monday’s series-opening matchup against the reigning World Series champions, Montoyo addressed the toll the injuries to the Blue Jays' rotation have been taking on the team, and the challenges the team has faced in their emergence.

“It’s all about making sure we have pitching for the next day,” Montoyo said. “Like every game, whoever I use, I’ve got to make sure I’ve got enough for the next day. It’s like that almost every day. It’s almost like having an opener.”

Elvis Luciano followed Jackson out of the bullpen and didn’t fare much better. The 19-year-old right-hander allowed four runs on four hits with two walks over 1 1/3 innings before Toronto dipped further into its reserves. Ryan Tepera came into the game in the ninth and promptly allowed back-to-back home runs to Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers before getting out of the inning.

The Blue Jays have lost 14 of their past 19 games and are 8-14 at Rogers Centre, with just one win over their past seven contests at home.

Alexis Brudnicki is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter @baseballexis.