BOSTON -- The Blue Jays limped into the All-Star break with a lot of the same defensive issues that have been plaguing them throughout much of the first half.On the same day that Toronto lost Kevin Pillar and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to the disabled list, the Blue Jays made a
BOSTON -- The Blue Jays limped into the All-Star break with a lot of the same defensive issues that have been plaguing them throughout much of the first half.
On the same day that Toronto lost Kevin Pillar and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. to the disabled list, the Blue Jays made a couple of more miscues in the field that ultimately led to a 5-2 loss at the hands of the Red Sox on Sunday at Fenway Park. Right-hander Marcus Stroman took the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, but similarly to J.A. Happ on Thursday, he deserved a better fate.
An error by second baseman Devon Travis and a botched fly ball in left field by Teoscar Hernandez loomed large on Sunday afternoon. The Red Sox were once again able to take advantage of the situation, as was the case throughout the four-game series, which saw the Blue Jays commit eight errors in four games.
"My team picks me up a ton, so a lot of those times I put an emphasis on making better pitches, not necessarily my teammates," Stroman said. "They've picked me up all year. I should be able to pitch better in times like that, when my team doesn't have my back, because they've had my back a ton of times. Love my guys on my team, and like I said, I would go to war with them every day."
Toronto finished the first half with the third-most errors in the American League. The Rangers (75) and the White Sox (71) are the only teams who have committed more errors than the Blue Jays' 63. Toronto also entered play on Sunday ranked third-to-last in the AL with .679 defensive efficiency rating, and overall the Blue Jays rank 24th in the Major Leagues with -32 defensive runs saved.
Of the 22 runs the Red Sox scored during this four-game series, just 12 of them were earned. Stroman became the latest to be affected, allowing four runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five. A couple of miscues increased his pitch count, and meant he was only able to go five innings. Both times, the mistakes cost Toronto runs.
In the first inning, Travis could not corral a ball off the bat of Mitch Moreland. Instead of two outs and one man on base, Stroman had to pitch with two runners on. Brock Holt made him pay two runners later, knocking an RBI single to center field. In the fifth, Boston's Sandy Leon led off with a fly ball to the warning track in left field. Hernandez should have been able to make a play, but he took an awkward route and then let the ball sail over his head for a double. In the next at-bat, Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in Leon with a double to center.
"I just didn't make pitches," said Stroman, who is 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA over his last four road starts. "I thought I was making good pitches all day, but I kind of lost it there for a bit."
On a positive note for the Blue Jays, Hernandez hit a two-run homer off Red Sox lefty Christopher Johnson in the top of the third inning. Hernandez's 15th home run was projected to travel 349 feet and left his bat at 98.8 mph according to Statcast™. Johnson fell one out shy of becoming eligible for the win, allowing two runs on a pair of hits and four walks over 4 2/3 innings.
Toronto enters the All-Star break with a 43-52 record. The .453 winning percentage is below last year's midseason mark of .466 (41-47). The Blue Jays have lost eight of their last 10 games vs. the AL East, and are 14-25 in divisional contests this season.
"Just to reset," Stroman said, when asked about mindset heading into the All-Star break. "I think that's the mindset of anyone. Even if you're playing well, it's definitely good to get the break to get away from the game, clear your head, hopefully come back and put some wins together."
The eight errors by the Blue Jays in this series was a new season high. The last time Toronto committed eight errors in a series was June 25-28, 2007, at Minnesota. The most ever was 10 in a five-game series against Boston in 1970. The previous high this season was six vs. Oakland, from May 17-20.
The Blue Jays will be off for the next four days because of the All-Star break, while lefty J.A. Happ heads to the Midsummer Classic as Toronto's lone representative. When the regular season resumes on Friday, right-hander Sam Gaviglio (2-3, 4.58) will take the mound against the Orioles with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET at Rogers Centre. Gaviglio made his last start on just two days' rest and allowed one run over 3 1/3 innings to Boston. The Orioles have yet to announce their starting pitcher.
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays
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