Wednesday night, the Toronto Blue Jays lost their season-high fifth straight game, dropping their third straight to the Tampa Bay Rays 6-3 to get swept for the second time this season. It’s been a bad three days in “The Big Smoke,” as the Rays outscored the Jays 31-7 over the three-game set, collecting a team-record 44 hits over their stay and the Toronto starters – the biggest strength throughout the first six weeks of the season – continued to struggle.
After back-to-back strong outings, it was R.A. Dickey’s turn to endure a challenging start on Wednesday, as the veteran knuckleballer gave up eight hits, five runs (four earned) and three home runs over his six innings of work to take the loss and move to 2-5 on the season. Since the beginning of the 2013 season, the former Cy Young Award winner has allowed 94 home runs, the most of any pitcher over that span.
While the Jays actually jumped out to a 1-0 lead on Jimmy Paredes’ first home run with the club in the bottom of the 2nd, Dickey’s counterpart, Jake Odorizzi, was able to minimize the damage of four walks in five innings, allowing just two hits – solo blasts to Paredes and Michael Saunders – before turning it over the to bullpen. Erasmo Ramirez and Alex Colome combined to surrender just two hits and one run while striking out six over the final four innings, with the latter picking up a four-out save to complete the sweep.
The loss pushes Toronto to four-games under .500 for the first time this season and gives them a 4-6 record against the Rays thus far. Through Wednesday’s action, the Jays sit seven games back in the American League East, one game ahead of the last place New York Yankees, but having played four more games than the “Bronx Bombers.”
Toronto heads out on a week-long road trip in hopes of ending what is currently the longest active losing streak in the big leagues, starting with four in Minnesota before taking on the Yankees on their home turf for the first time to begin next week. And they’ll have to get through this next week and more without the services of reliever Brett Cecil. Placed on the 15-day DL last weekend, an MRI revealed the lefty has a torn lat muscle, which should sideline him for at least a month. On the positive side, second baseman Devon Travis is set to begin a rehab assignment at Triple A Buffalo after an excellent showing in four games in Dunedin.
Player of the Game: Jimmy Paredes
The newest member of the Blue Jays went 1-for-4 on Wednesday with his first home run with his new team. In a game where there wasn’t a lot to be excited about, Paredes going yard in his first start (he spelled Josh Donaldson at third base) is a worth acknowledging.
The 27-year-old is a solid addition for the Jays as he’s able to play multiple positions, logging equal time at third and in right field over his career, with a couple games at second and in left mixed in there too. If he can join Darwin Barney and Ezequiel Carrera as part of a consistent, dependable bench mob, Toronto could get their stars a couple more days of rest during the dog days of summer.
On Deck: Four at Target Field kick off on Thursday with Marco Estrada (1-2, 2.89) going head-to-head with Ervin Santana (1-2, 3.38).