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Garcia struggles as Blue Jays drop to .500

Lefty's 3 2/3-inning start latest shaky performance from Toronto rotation
MLB.com @gregorMLB

NEW YORK -- The problems in the Blue Jays' starting rotation have gone from bad to worse.

Veteran lefty Jaime Garcia became the latest contributor to Toronto's starting woes as he lasted just 3 2/3 innings in a 12-2 loss to the Mets on Tuesday night at Citi Field. Garcia was charged with six runs on six hits and three walks as his record dropped to 2-3.

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NEW YORK -- The problems in the Blue Jays' starting rotation have gone from bad to worse.

Veteran lefty Jaime Garcia became the latest contributor to Toronto's starting woes as he lasted just 3 2/3 innings in a 12-2 loss to the Mets on Tuesday night at Citi Field. Garcia was charged with six runs on six hits and three walks as his record dropped to 2-3.

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The latest outing caused Garcia's ERA to jump from 5.40 to 6.28. It marked the second time in three starts that the native of Mexico has not completed four innings, and he hasn't gone six frames since his first outing of the year.

"I'm disappointed in myself," Garcia said after the latest setback. "I feel like I haven't really been doing my job. I'm trying my best, working hard, trying to find ways to keep us in the ballgame and find ways to go deep."

The lack of quality innings from a starter is nothing new for Toronto's struggling rotation. The supposed strength at the start of the season has been anything but through the first seven weeks, with a group ERA that now sits at 5.69, which ranks second to last in the Major Leagues. Blue Jays starters are 10-19 as a group with a 1.52 WHIP, which ranks 27th in all of baseball.

Video: TOR@NYM: Mets rally for 5 runs in 4th to take lead

Garcia actually got off to a solid start in Tuesday's series opener vs. New York. He limited the damage in a troublesome second inning and carried a 2-1 lead into the fourth before things quickly unraveled. Jay Bruce and Amed Rosario doubled while right-hander Noah Syndergaard, who hit an RBI double in the second, came through yet again with a sacrifice fly to center.

The short start led to another long night for the Blue Jays' bullpen, which has been extremely overworked so far this season. Jake Petricka didn't fare any better in relief, as he allowed three additional runs on six hits, while long reliever Deck McGuire finished things out with 3 1/3 innings of three-run ball. More roster moves likely will be required in the near future as the Blue Jays search for a fresh arm out of the 'pen.

Despite the prolonged struggles, the Blue Jays aren't likely to make changes anytime soon. The club may eventually swap out fifth starter Joe Biagini for McGuire, Sam Gaviglio or a prospect from the Minors, but Garcia's job is not remotely close to being in jeopardy. The group as a whole will have to get itself out of the current rut.

Video: TOR@NYM: Granderson gets ovation in Citi Field return

"I think we just have to make better pitches, more consistently," Blue Jays catcher Russell Martin said. "I'm sure [Garcia] feels that way too. He has been around for a long time. He still has good stuff. I just think that a little bit better command with the fastball to get ahead, and stay ahead, and then find ways to put hitters away instead of letting hitters get back into counts.

"I feel like that happens a lot too where we get strike one, strike two, and the next thing you know the count is back to 3-2, and I feel like we can do a better job of getting hitters out of there quicker."

Video: TOR@NYM: Solarte drives in 2 with bases-loaded single

Syndergaard, a former Blue Jays top prospect, picked up the win for New York, as he limited the Blue Jays to a pair of runs over five innings. Yangervis Solarte provided one of the only bright spots for Toronto, as he picked up a bases-loaded, two-run single in the third inning that momentarily put his team in front.

Toronto now finds itself back at .500 for the first time since April 1. After starting the year 17-12, the Blue Jays have since fallen on hard times, in large part because of a 4-9 record over their past 13 games. Toronto dropped to 0-12 all-time against the Mets on the road and 0-3 at Citi Field with the latest loss.

"We've been having to play catch up too much, and that's tough," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Our offense, it's a good offense, we're cold in some spots right now, but it's tough doing that every night. … We need to tighten up our rotation, there's no doubt about it, and I'm still confident that will change because we're too good down there, but it's just not happening right now."

SOUND SMART
McGuire hit a single in the top of the eighth inning, which was the Blue Jays' first hit by a pitcher since Marcus Stroman homered against Atlanta on May 18, 2017. Including Tuesday night, Toronto pitchers have combined to hit .098 (43-for-440) with five doubles, one triple, two homers and 11 RBIs all-time.

Video: TOR@NYM: McGuire singles off Lugo for first MLB hit

MARTIN AT SHORT
Martin made his first career appearance at shortstop in the lopsided loss. Martin moved from behind the plate to shortstop during the eighth inning as Luke Maile entered the game at catcher. Martin has played plenty of infield for the Blue Jays, with three appearances at second and 14 games at third. Martin was not required to make a defensive play at short.

"For me, it was the only cool thing that happened in the game today," Martin said. "I guess you could kind of call it a dream come true. I wish the circumstances were a little bit different, but I'll remember the first day I ever played shortstop in the Major Leagues." More >

Video: TOR@NYM: Martin plays SS for the first time in career

UP NEXT
The Blue Jays will close out their mini two-game Interleague Play series against the Mets when lefty J.A. Happ takes the mound on Wednesday afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 1:10 p.m. ET. Happ (4-3, 4.80 ERA) is coming off his worst start of the season, having allowed seven runs on 10 hits in an outing vs. Seattle. The Mets will counter with Zack Wheeler (2-2, 5.03).

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

Toronto Blue Jays, Jaime Garcia