NEW YORK, New York – With one game left to play this month, Tuesday in Toronto against the Red Sox, the Blue Jays are a loss away from enduring the worst April in the franchise's 37-year history.
“It's obviously been incredibly disappointing for everybody,” said staff ace R.A. Dickey following Sunday's 3-2 loss to the Yankees, which assured an O-fer in New York, a 1-6 road trip through two American League East cities and dropped the club's record to 9-17. “The beauty about baseball is it's just one month and we've got five left so there's still time.”
Plenty of time for the results to improve; then again, plenty of time for more losses if the sport's basic fundamentals continue to elude the group.
“We can't just keep going out there and saying, ‘Oh, it's going to turn,'” said Dickey, who fell to 2-4 on the season. “Everybody in here knows we have to each take responsibility for turning it. We know what needs to be done. It's just a matter of doing it.”
A skilled orator, Dickey left no doubt with his follow up.
“If we can do it, great. If not, we're going to be losers.”
Sensing urgency in the knuckleballer's words, Dickey was asked about the existence of a sense of urgency in the clubhouse.
"There better be,” he responded. “I'm hopeful that we all individually will feel a sense of urgency. I can only speak for myself and I think a few other guys in the room know that this next home stand is a big home stand for us, in the sense that we're going to be going into a new month. It's time to turn the page. Hopefully we can get going in the right direction. We've got the Red Sox and Mariners coming in, so hopefully we can start winning some series.”
The Blue Jays have played in seventeen games decided by two runs or less. Their record is 6-11, which includes each of the seven games on the just-concluded road trip. Toronto had a lead in each game in New York, including twice in the sixth inning or beyond, yet lost them all.
On Sunday, Dickey had a 2-1 lead in the seventh until Lyle Overbay's two out, two-run homer put the Yankees ahead for good.
“I threw him a couple of very mediocre knuckleballs and he got a couple of base hits, one being a home run, and when you're playing tight games against the New York Yankees, it's usually the guy that makes the most mistakes that's going to lose the game,” said Dickey. “Today, it looks like I did that. Of the four hits I gave up, two of them were homers, doesn't always happen that way, but today it did.”
The club isn't scoring enough runs and ranks near the bottom in many important offensive categories. Even where they're strong, the Blue Jays have hit 33 home runs, they are diminished. Only 10 have been hit with runners on base.
The starting rotation's ERA is a collective 5.26. The Blue Jays' defense, based on scientific metrics and not-so-scientific optics, get some of the blame for that bloated number.
When Boston, the AL East's early season leader, arrives at Rogers Centre on Tuesday, it will have a 9.5 game lead on last place Toronto.
The Jays' struggling offence will get the Red Sox's best. John Lester, Clay Buchholz and Ryan Dempster are scheduled to pitch in the series.
It could get worse before it gets better. Or it could just keep getting worse.