Jays can't hit, pitch or catch a break

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:41 PM ET

BOSTON — The Blue Jays saved the worst for the last.

As the Boston Marathon patted by a few blocks away, the Jays offence pulled up lame as it was two-hit by Daisuke Matsuzaka and company in a humiliating 9-1 defeat.

All of three Jays managed to reach base this day and following a walk by Travis Snider with two out in the second, 20 Jays went down in a row until Yunel Escobar prevented the shutout by putting a ball over the Green Monster in the ninth against Tim Wakefield.

The dispirited, one-sided defeat was the rancid cherry atop a 10-game road trip that ended with a 3-7 record, a three-game losing streak and held the odour of a dead skunk. Over the final three defeats the Jays scored just three runs.

On this trip the Jays have shown an ability to lose the close ones, not hit home runs, stop hitting altogether and not produce much in the way of starting pitching.

That’s not a winning combination folks.

“It was embarrassing the last three days what happened,” said Aaron Hill, which pretty much says it all. “We can’t come in here and lose the last three games like that. Sometimes you just have to tip your cap but it’s upsetting that it’s been three days in a row.

“We know we’re a much better ball club and to come away the way we did, it definitely doesn’t feel right coming home.”

Manager John Farrell had his game face on after the loss.

“We weren’t in it from the start and it progressively got worse from there,” he said of the loss. “We caught a team that’s coming out of a slump, unfortunately for us at the wrong time. We need to get back home and regroup.”

What they need is a turnaround.

“We’ve got to get back to doing what has worked well for us and been successful for us which is manufacturing runs and capitalizing on balls in the strike zone that our hitters can handle and we’ve got to go out and pitch,” Farrell said. “That goes without saying. The last three games were an indication that we need to take a little bit more of a leadership on the mound.”

POWER OUTAGE

What’s that old saying — Be careful what you wish for.

Remember all the way back to the 2010 season when the Blue Jays were banging the snot out of the ball, when they were clubbing home runs with reckless abandon?

Remember how much fun that was?

But even then, in those heady days, the naysayers were griping about an offence being one dimensional, that you can’t have a team living and dying by the home run.

What about stealing bases and employing the hit-and-run, was the critics cry.

Well, who’s crying now?

The Jays are stealing bases these days — they lead the loop with 21 — but they don’t seem to be able to steal a win.

Over the 10 games, the Jays managed four home runs and just one from an expected source of power — a three-run shot by Jose Bautista last Wednesday. The other homers were belted by Corey Patterson, Jayson Nix and Yunel Escobar.

Nada from the likes of Hill, Adam Lind or Travis Snider. On the season, that trio has combined for two homers with none from Hill.

Last season after 16 games the Jays were 9-7 and had belted 23 homers. After Monday’s loss they are 7-9 and have hit just 13.

As if to hammer the point, the Jays return home to open a two-game series against the front-running New York Yankees.

The Yankees aren’t hitting for average and their pitching has been mediocre to poor. But they have been winning by banging the ball out of the park as they lead the league with 27 homers.

Remember what that was like?

DICE-K DEALING

That the Jays would manage just one hit against Dice-K was shocking given the way he has opened the season. He was so pitiful in his previous start against Tampa — two innings, eight hits, seven runs — they were writing columns here pleading that he be released due to his seven-game winless streak dating back to last season.

But Matsuzaka, who has owned the Jays in his career (he’s now 7-1 against them), allowed a two-out single by Bautista in the opening inning and nothing else over his seven innings. His only other blemish was a two-out walk by Snider in the second. After that it was 16 up, 16 down until reliever Alfredo Aceves took over in the eighth. The Red Sox shutout went in the ninth on a solo homer by Escobar.

“Obviously one hit against him was not what our game plan was,” Hill said of Dice-K. “He really kind of baffled us today.”


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