Toronto has had backs against wall before and rallied
By Richard Justice
TORONTO -- They're a tough, resilient team. The Blue Jays have proven that time and again in this magical season. Besides that, one lousy game is one lousy game. Baseball players learn to turn the page quickly.
That's what the Blue Jays will be attempting to do after a 14-2 loss to the Royals in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday. Kansas City leads the best-of-seven series, 3-1, and can close it out in Game 5 on Wednesday (3 p.m. ET air time on FOX Sports 1 and Sportsnet, 4 p.m. game time) at Rogers Centre.
"You play this game long enough, you're going to have outings like that," Dickey said. "It hurts a little bit worse because it was on this stage. You've got to deal with that. We're all grown men here."
Kansas City's lead was 5-2 after six innings, but then it unraveled quickly with the Royals scoring four runs in the seventh, three in the eighth and two in the ninth. By then, Gibbons was looking ahead to Game 5. He began removing some of his starters, and in a final acknowledgment of the reality of the situation, summoned infielder Cliff Pennington, who got the final out and became the first position player to pitch in a postseason game.
Now about turning the page …
"It definitely makes the task at hand more difficult, but we're all professionals here," Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson said. "We went out there and tried to grind it out as much as we could and fell short today. I wouldn't say we're angry. We know what we have to do They played really well and pretty much dominated all facets of the game today."
The Blue Jays rode baseball's best offense and a solid bullpen down the stretch. Their rotation was always something of a question. In four ALCS games, Toronto's starters have a 7.20 ERA. Kansas City's game is getting a lead and turning games over to baseball's best bullpen.
That's how the series has played out, with the Royals outscoring the Blue Jays, 21-1, in the final three innings of the four games. Again, though, Game 4, for all its ugliness, was one defeat. If Toronto wins Game 5, it will force the series back to Kansas City, and who knows what happens then? It's not how the Blue Jays had it mapped out, but starting 0-2 against the Rangers wasn't, either.
"There's no doubt it's a big challenge," Gibbons said. "It's a do-or-die game for us. But they do it all year. I think these guys will let this one go and they'll show up to play [Wednesday]. The key is get a good outing out of [Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada]. I know these guys will be ready."
Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. Read his blog, Justice4U. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.