Jays feel the heat in Texas

Colby Rasmus makes a diving catch against the Texas Rangers, May 27, 2012 in Arlington, Texas....

Colby Rasmus makes a diving catch against the Texas Rangers, May 27, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. Cooper Neill/Getty Images/AFP

Mike Rutsey, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:57 PM ET

ARLINGTON, Tex. — As a colleague on the beat likes to say, ‘It’s all starting to fall apart.’

When the Blue Jays headed out on their six-game road trip they were 23-19 and had won four of their past five.

Six games and five consecutive losses later the Jays are 24-24 and thanks to the Tampa Rays beating Boston, they sit in fourth place and not the basement.

In this three-game series, the Texas Rangers tore through the Jays like the proverbial hot knife through butter.

The Jays came into the series with arguably their three best starters on the mound in Brandon Morrow, Henderson Alvarez and Kyle Drabek.

Morrow and the Jays were crushed 14-3 in the opener on Friday when the right-hander lasted 2/3 of an inning in which time he allowed six runs on five hits and three walks.

In Saturday’s 8-7, 13-inning gutting, Alvarez allowed five runs on nine hits including three consecutive solo home runs in the sixth and the was tossed from the game for coming inside on the next batter.

Drabek got his turn on Sunday and you’d think the Rangers would be exhausted from pounding out so many hits and circling the bases so often.

Instead, they had plenty left and in the second inning they unloaded for seven runs on five hits and three walks as they sent 11 batters to the plate in what turned out to be a 12-6 romp.

So, for those of you counting at home that’s 34 runs and 44 hits, 10 of which were home runs that the Jays surrendered in the three games.

Somehow it seemed worse than that and as the Jays boarded their plane to fly back home they did so unsure of the status of shortstop Yunel Escobar, who left Sunday’s game in the fifth with groin tightness, and second baseman Kelly Johnson, who missed the past two games due to a left hamstring issue and cortisone shot.

Manager John Farrell put the Texas slaughter down to the Rangers swinging a hot bat.

“We ran into a hot-hitting club,” he said. “No matter who was on the mound if we made a pitch on the plate and made a mistake in the strike zone they covered it and squared up a lot of balls. This is a tough road trip. We go back kind of limping with Yunel banged up and Kelly with his hamstring situation.”

Like the starters before him, Drabek was no match against the Rangers who tore into him without mercy as he allowed a career high nine runs.

“I had to show up for the team and I didn’t do that,” a subdued Drabek said. “When I was throwing balls they weren’t swinging and when I was throwing strikes they were hitting them. It’s as simple as that.”

His biggest disappointment was with himself, of not being able to step up when his team needed it the most.

“We needed a big win, to get out of here, go home with the win,” he started. “We ended up getting some runs but I just wasn’t there for the team.”

The Jays mustered 10 hits and three home runs — two by J.P. Arencibia and one by Colby Rasmus — and didn’t come close.

It won’t get any easier for the Jays when they arrive home.

Beginning Monday they have three games against the surprising first-place Baltimore Orioles followed by three next weekend against the Red Sox.

“We’ve got to regroup, we’ve got Baltimore coming in here tomorrow and again, any time when we’ve been in these stretches and wins have been hard to come by it’s going to point further to the rotation to set the tone in a given ball game.”

The rotation has been the Jays strength to date which makes what happened here all the more concerning.

“We’ve got to get back to the basics of controlling the count and attacking the strike zone with strikes and eliminate the number of situations we’re fighting back into a count,” Farrell said.

The way the Jays are playing it won’t be a matter of if they tumble into the basement as much as when.

Farrell all season long has talked about the resiliency that his players have shown.

We’ll see how resilient they are now.

 


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