MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Gibbons ready to have just a normal week

After a whirlwind eight days, Blue Jays manager wants to move on

Gibbons ready to have just a normal week

NEW YORK -- It was the week that was, Toronto manager John Gibbons said with his usual good humor before the Blue Jays dropped a 6-0 decision to the division-rival Yankees on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.

"It was an unusual week," he said with a chuckle. "You know, I enjoyed watching some of those games on TV. Not that many, though. It gives you a different perspective.

"So that's over. It's been kind of [a bad] show, if you want to know the truth."

Gibbons said he intends to behave for the Yanks series and try to remain on the bench for each of the three games, although one never knows. So far so good on Tuesday night.

"He's passionate," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "But I knew that from before. John's always the kind of guy who's going to stick up for his players. That's what you're supposed to do as a manager, and sometimes that's going to get you tossed."

But not with this kind of regularity: Ejection, ejection, three-game suspension, two quiet days, then another ejection on Sunday.

In the middle of it all, Gibbons took the heart of his lineup and moved it up three notches, batting Jose Bautista first, Josh Donaldson second and Edwin Encarnacion third.

That move was made this past Thursday for the opener of a four-game series against the Twins at Target Field. The Blue Jays won three of the four games there after suffering a three-game sweep at home against the Rays.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

"Well, the other stuff wasn't working, it's as simple as that," Gibbons said. "You know, get your top guys up there in the first inning. We did a little bit of stuff like that last year, maybe not this extreme, just trying to shake things up a little bit."

Girardi said the trio of power hitters is a big challenge to navigate anywhere in the order, simply because they're all still bunched together. Yet, there's no breathing room when an opposing pitcher must open a game against a hitter like Bautista.

"I think you better be ready for the first hitter," Girardi said.

In the strange space-time continuum of the baseball season -- when at this moment, the Yanks are on a six-game winning streak and the Blue Jays are struggling -- Tuesday's game could only open like this:

With Nathan Eovaldi about to pitch into the seventh inning, allowing no runs on two hits for his fifth victory, Bautista and Donaldson meekly bounced back to the box and Encarnacion struck out swinging in the first inning.

The second time through, in the top of the third, Bautista singled, Donaldson was out trying to bunt for a base hit, but Encarnacion struck out swinging with runners on second and third as Eovaldi pitched out of the inning.

The Blue Jays' vaunted top of the order was 1-for-10 with a walk and the sac bunt on the evening.

Asked if he liked the way the adjusted lineup was working, Gibbons said, "Somewhat."

Bautista has his hearing on a one-game suspension at Major League Baseball's central offices in Manhattan prior to a 4:05 p.m. ET start Thursday here against the Yankees.

The suspension was levied after the May 15 fracas at Texas when Rangers infielder Rougned Odor punched Bautista in the face. Matt Bush hit Bautista with a pitch. Bautista was suspended for an illegal slide into second base, and Odor was given an eight-game suspension.

In that game, Gibbons was ejected for arguing balls and strikes even before the fisticuffs began, and he earned his three-game suspension for coming back on the field during the altercations.

The next day in Toronto against the Rays, Gibbons was ejected again for arguing balls and strikes. He then served the three-game suspension.

"You know what? You've got to have rules and you've got to enforce them," Gibbons said. "Otherwise you have chaos. I can live with that personally."

Gibbons' ejection on Sunday was a little bit more complex than just arguing balls and strikes. In Texas, Bautista paid the price for a bat flip after a monumental home run in last year's American League Division Series.

On Saturday, Donaldson was being talked to by coaches in the Twins' dugout, and he was ejected for jawing back at the culprits. On Sunday, Bautista and Donaldson led off with back-to-back homers against Phil Hughes. Hughes opened the fifth by throwing the first pitch inside to Donaldson and the second pitch on the other side of him.

Donaldson protested to home-plate umpire Mark Ripperger, and when Gibbons came out on the field to protect him, he was thrown out of the game, completing the perfect storm of an eight-day period for him.

"Donaldson's jawing, so you have to go out there, don't you?" Gibbons said. "Do I feel like the world is against us? I can't say that. We've got a bunch of emotional guys and some big personalities. There's no doubt about it. When they're clearly throwing at our guy, you've got to do something."

There were no such incidents for Gibbons to worry about on Tuesday night.

"No, no. Not the Yankees, the umpires, nobody," he said.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.