Blue Jays’ players address early-season woes

Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista talks with third base coach Luis Rivera (2) outside the batting cage before the baseball game against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Saturday, April 27, 2013 in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
April 29, 2013, 1:18 PM

The Toronto Blue Jays are as flabbergasted as anybody by their 9-17 start to the season, fuelled by their current run of 10 losses in 13 outings.

A handful of them shared their thoughts with sportsnet.ca on a difficult April.

R.A. Dickey: “It’s obviously been incredibly disappointing for everybody. The beauty about baseball is it’s just one month and we’ve got five left so there’s still time. But at the same time, we can’t just keep going out there and saying, ‘Oh, it’s going to turn.’ Everybody in here knows we have to each take responsibility for turning it. We know what needs to be done. It’s just a matter of doing it. If we can do it, great. If not, we’re going to be losers. It’s just the way it is. That’s what you deal with at this level. So hopefully, we can right the ship here. …

“Moral victories don’t show up in the win column. You see the (6-11 record in games decided by two runs or less) as negatives because those are games that you probably should’ve won at some point, if you did just one or two things just a little bit better. If you don’t walk the guy, maybe you get the extra-base hit or you take the extra base, whatever. But you certainly would reflect on those games, knowing that those games are games that you probably could’ve won with one or two plays if you do them differently than you did them. So I certainly see that as disappointing. Sure, you’re not getting blown out by 11 runs, but like I said, that doesn’t feel any better to me.”

Casey Janssen: “Not how we drew it up, that’s for sure. We haven’t really played good baseball, even in some of the wins we’ve squeaked out, but on the flip side, we’ve been in every game. Give or take a mistake, a missed opportunity or a mistake pitch, we’re one of those things away from being at worst a .500 team. We’re not going anywhere, we’re going to be ready to go Tuesday, we need to win that series and get moving in the right direction. Everybody needs to take a step back, reflect, look themselves in the mirror and understand what they need to do to help this team win, and go about their business that way. …

“We don’t look mathematically at what we need to do. We need to go out and win Tuesday, and take it from there. It’s cliché and whatever, but it’s really one game at a time and once this thing gets rolling, it’s going to be fun to watch. The hitters can’t do this the whole year, they’re going to snap out of it, our starting pitchers, they’re going to be the guys that they are. It’s unfortunate we didn’t start out like that, but these guys are good and all these guys give us a chance to win every night. That’s all we can ask. Once the bats start clicking, we’re going to be OK. The margin, you don’t want to get too far behind, not that we’re scoreboard watching, but we definitely know that there are quite a few teams ahead of us, and it starts Tuesday, hopefully.”

Brandon Morrow: “It’s been tough. The starters haven’t pitched very well, the few times that we have, we’ve struggled to score some runs in those games, there are some little things we can do better – it’s all fixable. There have been a number of games that have seemed to get away from us from just one or two pitches, or a defensive miscue, and those are things that can get fixed. We still have a good team, we’ve still got plenty of guys that can get the job done, and I think this is probably going to make us better in the long run. To struggle like this and the injuries, having (Jose) Reyes out was a huge blow, and then Jose (Bautista) struggling with the ankle and the back thing, a couple of guys in the rotation struggling with a couple of things, it’s been a little bit of a grind in the first month. …

“What’s really hard is you can’t point to one thing. It’s little different things that we just haven’t done enough of in a certain game to win. One day we don’t pitch that well, the next day maybe we make a defensive miscue, maybe not an error but maybe not turning a double play, something like that that could cost us a couple of runs, and the next day maybe not cashing in on a couple of possible RBIs. Guys are probably pressing just a little bit, but I don’t think anybody is panicking, you don’t see that. Everybody is still confident in their abilities, and our ability to turn it around.”

JOSE BAUTISTA: “We’re going to be fine, it’s still early, it’s a long season. We can’t just hang our hats. If we had the opposite record with the same amount of wins instead of losses we wouldn’t think that we would have a foot in the World Series. It doesn’t change anything we still have to come out here and play hard every day and look for wins. We have to make the adjustment, we have to do whatever it takes every night to win and we haven’t found a way to do that so far but I’m confident that will change. …

“We just have a lot of guys underperforming, myself included. Once we individually pick it back up, the team effort is going to be better. Each person needs to get back to doing what they’re good at and that’s it. Once everybody gets going better individually, the team is going to get better offensively.”

EDWIN ENCARNACION: “I know we’ve been in a lot of close games, we have to win those games, we have to win games, no matter if it’s a one-run game, two-run game, five-run game. We just have to focus on winning, that’s the number one thing for a team to be in the playoffs. …

“We have to focus on hitting, we have to focus on pitching and we have to put it together. If we put those things together, we know the talent is here. We know we’re going to change that, we have to start doing it on the field.”

DARREN OLIVER: “It’s a tough one, man, a tough month. Got to keep going, definitely not the start we were looking for. We’re here now. …

“We can roll into May and be like 20-5, which would be great, you just never know in sports. All you can do is play one game at a time, try to win the game that’s presented to you, and try to get on some kind of roll, baseball’s a game of streaks, it really is. This is a bad streak. …

“When you’re losing there are a lot of reasons why, you can’t just pick out one thing. People talk about chemistry and all that stuff, when you’re winning the chemistry is great because you’re winning. When you’re losing everybody is trying to figure out why the chemistry is not there. There have been teams that have been around for a couple of years together and lost, it can happen. The bottom line is winning, winning takes care of everything.”

ADAM LIND: “There’s not much good to say except we’re still here. We haven’t done anything well, you can reflect, but it’s not going to do much good. Just move on, looking forward is probably the best thing we can do. I wouldn’t be surprised if we had the worst record in the big-leagues, which is not where we’re supposed to be. …

“We’ve been in ball-games, just haven’t won. This whole road trip, they were all one-run games, pretty much, so we’re there, we’re just not quite there. We haven’t gotten that one more knock, that one more out, or whatever. One step behind.”

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