"We're well aware of the situations that are taking place on the
field," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "But the physical things,
they're going to happen, and we're in a little bit of a rut in terms of
the physical errors that are being made."
On Monday night, the Blue Jays made two errors and allowed a total of
five unearned runs. Twenty-four hours later, the club officially doubled
its total of mistakes on the field and likely could have even been
charged with a couple more.
Things were sailing along smoothly until the seventh inning as Toronto
entered with a 3-1 lead, but things quickly fell apart from that point
on. The first blow occurred when Tampa's Sean Rodriguez led off the
frame with a solo home run on a 1-1 pitch from Alvarez to cut the lead
Two batters later, the defensive miscues began. With one on and nobody
out, shortstop Yunel Escobar couldn't handle a chopper towards the left
side of the infield. Instead of a bases-clearing double play, the
inning continued with a runner in scoring position and Alvarez now
faced with a jam.
During the next play, Rajai Davis misplayed a single to left field that
easily allowed Will Rhymes to score all the way from second. But the
trouble didn't end there, and yet another miscue came with the very next
Ben Zobrist hit a hard liner towards second and Kelly Johnson attempted
to make a leaping catch. He got plenty of glove on the ball, but was
still unable to make the play, and while Johnson wasn't charged with an
error, it still marked the third consecutive defensive mistake.
A total of three runs came across to score on three hits and two
errors. Toronto entered the game ranked second-worst among teams in the
American League in errors (33) and fielding percentage (.977). Those
numbers only got worse on Tuesday night and the club has now committed
15 errors in its past 10 games.
"If it's a slump or not, we've given a couple of opportunities to the
opposition," Farrell said. "Guys are well aware of what the situation
is and what is to be executed. That's not a matter of rehearsal, it's a
matter of letting them play and playing the game with the situation
that's unfolding in front of us."
Alvarez was taken out of the game partway through that problematic
seventh inning. He surrendered all four runs, two earned, on 10
hits without issuing a walk in 6 2/3 innings.
The 22-year-old has now recorded a quality start in all but one of his
eight outings this season, yet only has three wins to show for his
"Really, an interesting game both sides," Rays manager Joe Maddon said.
"Their pitcher is really good. That kid is going to be really good -- he already is really good."
All of Toronto's offense occurred in the third inning off Rays starter
David Price. With two outs, Jose Bautista singled up the middle to
score Davis and give the Blue Jays an early 1-0 lead. Edwin Encarnacion
then followed with a two-run homer over the wall in left-center field
for his 12th of the season.
Price then settled down and allowed just one additional hit through his
seven innings of work. He was charged with all three runs on six hits
while striking out six and is now 11-2 with a 2.13 ERA in 14 career
games against the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays' record drops to 1-4 over their past five games and have
managed to average just three runs per contest over that span. Normally,
the lack of execution on offense would be the main topic of
conversation following such a stretch, but with the relatively easy plays not
being made in the field, it clearly has taken a backseat to the club's
recent woes on defense.
"It seems like they made more plays than we did," Davis said.
"Unfortunately we didn't make the routine plays that could have helped
us get out of some jams. They made more plays than us."