TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have been playing a lot better of late, but after a run of games against American League East division rivals, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey felt his club was lacking energy.
Dickey gave the astute assessment of his team's performance following a 7-0 loss to the Phillies on Monday night. The score was somewhat deceiving, because the Blue Jays trailed by just one run entering the seventh; things quickly went downhill from there.
The lopsided loss came on the heels of an emotion-fueled series victory over the Orioles. Was there a hangover effect? Dickey could not say for sure, but he did notice that something was missing in this series opener.
"I don't think we played with a lot of energy today," said Dickey, who allowed three runs over 6 1/3 innings. "We've had a lot of games recently where we've been really invested against division opponents.
"It's plausible [a letdown] would be the case. You play the Phillies, they don't have a winning record. It was just a low-energy day for us all around, it felt like, but thank goodness it only counts for one loss. It feels like a lot worse, but it still stings."
Toronto just completed a stretch where 16 of its 19 games were against division rivals. The Blue Jays went 13-6 over that span and won all five series against the AL East. The only series Toronto did not win during that span was a recent set against Detroit, where it lost two of three.
The Blue Jays also are coming off a tense four-game series against Baltimore in which all but one game was decided by one run. The club then switched gears with its next four games against the Phillies, and the first of those didn't go particularly well.
Toronto was shut out for the fourth time this season and managed just three hits against starter Jerad Eickhoff. The lack of offense was enough to saddle Dickey with his seventh loss of the season, even though he limited Philadelphia to one run going into the seventh before allowing two more.
"Their kid was good," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Eickhoff. "Over the last couple of years, we've faced some right-handers with good breaking balls and can pitch a little bit. They've been known to give us some trouble, because we're so right-handed dominant.
"He had a good breaking ball, he did a nice job. It was a close game there for awhile, we just couldn't put anything on the board ... We couldn't get anything going."