Blue Jays on pace for dubious K's record

Toronto struck out 13 times in Wednesday's loss to White Sox

Blue Jays on pace for dubious K's record

TORONTO -- The lack of contact from the Blue Jays' lineup is starting to become a concern with the club on pace to register the most strikeouts in franchise history.

Toronto struck out 13 times during a 4-0 loss to the White Sox on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre. It was the 11th time in 23 games this season the Blue Jays' hitters reached double digits in strikeouts.

The Blue Jays finished their game Wednesday night with a Major League worst 217 strikeouts so far this season. White Sox starter Jose Quintana registered 10 of those K's in his six innings of work.

"There's something to be said about putting the ball in play, that's for sure," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "Nothing good can happen when you're striking out, other than maybe staying out of the double play sometimes. That would help. A lot of times, strikeouts happen when you're not staying on the ball long enough. If you're not willing to use the opposite field."

The 217 strikeouts are the most the club has ever had through 23 games of the season. There is a lot of time for per-game average to drop, and nobody in the clubhouse is about to panic, but it's still a staggeringly high number for a lineup that was supposed to be the best in baseball. The Blue Jays ranked 10th with 91 runs scored on the season after the defeat Wednesday.

Toronto's offensive struggles peaked during Chicago's three-game sweep at Rogers Centre. It was the first time the Blue Jays were swept at home in a series of three or more games since Sept. 10-12, 2013, and Toronto scored a grand total of six runs.

Chicago left-handed starters Chris Sale and Quintana played a role in those issues, but the path ahead does not get any easier for Toronto. The Blue Jays are set to open a three-game series against the Rays and are about to face Drew Smyly, Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi.

"I wouldn't put too much into it, to be honest," Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada said of the early offensive struggles. "We faced some good pitching these last few days. [Dioner] Navarro knows us pretty well, too, and he can call a pretty good game. If you make your pitches with that guy behind you, you're probably going to be pretty successful, and that's what happened.

"I tip my hat to them. They made some good pitches against a very good lineup. It's not easy being left handed and facing this team. They did a really good job."

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.