NEW YORK -- Strikeouts have been an issue for the Blue Jays all season, and the lack of contact became a problem once again in the series opener vs. the Yankees.Toronto struck out 13 times and had just three hits in a 1-0 loss on Monday night at Yankee Stadium. It
NEW YORK -- Strikeouts have been an issue for the Blue Jays all season, and the lack of contact became a problem once again in the series opener vs. the Yankees.
Toronto struck out 13 times and had just three hits in a 1-0 loss on Monday night at Yankee Stadium. It was the first time the Blue Jays were held off the scoreboard since June 13 and the fifth time this season. They rank third in the American League with 1,012 strikeouts.
The Blue Jays are known for hitting home runs, but they've also become a bit of an all-or-nothing team. When the ball is flying out of the park -- like it was with three home runs in a 9-2 win over Houston on Sunday -- everything is fine. When it's not, the team struggles.
"He's got a good arm, good live arm and he has a nice little breaking ball," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Yankees starter Chad Green, who struck out 11 over six innings. "He was confident. As the game went on you could see it more and more."
Green caused the Blue Jays' lineup plenty of issues throughout the night. He struck out the side in order in the second and then again in the sixth. The 25-year-old even carried a perfect game into the fifth until Troy Tulowitzki hit a one-out single to left field.
There were only two innings in the game when Toronto put a runner on base. In the fifth, the Blue Jays had runners on second and third with one out only to see both Justin Smoak and Melvin Upton Jr. strike out. In the ninth, there were runners on the corners with one out until Edwin Encarnacion hit into a game-ending double play to third base.
When the ball left Encarnacion's bat it appeared as though the Blue Jays had a chance to steal the game late. But instead, Chase Headley made a quick grab with his glove and then threw the ball to second for the start of the double play. On a night when the opportunities were few and far between, that was as close as the Blue Jays could get.
"I thought it was down the line," said Blue Jays catcher Josh Thole, who led off the ninth with a walk and was then lifted for a pinch-runner. "I was at the bat rack, I couldn't see it right away. But that's what our offense is all about. Fight until the end. We'll have to come back tomorrow."
The lack of offense led to another tough defeat for R.A. Dickey, who can't seem to catch a break. He allowed one run over five innings but still came away with the loss, which in a way should hardly come as a surprise considering he receives the seventh-lowest run support in the AL at 3.64.
That number pales in comparison to the support that J.A. Happ (6.39), Marcus Stroman (5.08) and Aaron Sanchez (4.91) have received this year. Righty Marco Estrada is in a similar boat with run support of 3.80.
"Any time you don't score for your starting pitcher, especially in a situation like that, R.A. a couple of times got out of a couple of big jams for us," Thole said. "Those are the innings you want to turn the momentum."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.