After a rare good start, Blue Jays’ bats turn cold in yet another defeat

SEATTLE – In this week of battle, the Toronto Blue Jays have all too often found themselves in a vicious circle. Their starter struggles, leaving a huge deficit and a lot of innings for the bullpen to cover. The attack, looking for big attacks to close the gap, comes out of his approach, becoming overly aggressive and failing to set up skewed numbers. When that happens, a worn-out bullpen can’t hold back the opposition and the game unravels.

The end result is that issues in the Blue Jays rotation have led to bad habits on record from an unsettling start to July.

“We still have to find ways to get on base, but it’s hard to get from behind almost every day,” manager Charlie Montoyo said of his club’s predicament. “This month we are (27th) in ERA which is why I always talk about pitching. Pitching is number 1 for me. When you pitch, you stand a chance of winning. This month has been tough. We’ve fallen behind a lot and when you’re behind, everyone feels the pressure. And that’s what’s going on. Kind of like at the beginning of the season, when we weren’t swinging the bats either. Everyone feels the pressure. Everyone is trying to do a little bit more. The only way to stop that is to talk to the boys about one at bat at a time. If you don’t get your pitch, give it to the next guy. We have to do that better.”

Well, the Blue Jays did a lot of things better on Friday night, but it still wasn’t enough, as Eugenio Suarez’s three-run home run in the 11th gave the Seattle Mariners a 5-2 win on Friday in front of a raucous, Canuck-filled crowd of 32,398 at T-Mobile Park.

The winning rally came after the Blue Jays narrowly missed 10 . escapede, as they walked Ty France with two outs intentionally only for JP Crawford to hit a single to the left. But Lourdes Gurriel Jr. saved the day with a perfect throw to easily catch Abraham Toro.

On the other hand, the Blue Jays lost for the seventh time in eight games and froze the momentum that had been built with four wins in five games after another 4-8 spell, in what will be a frustrating period.

“We know we’re not even close to our best baseball brand,” said Ross Stripling, who gave up two runs in five gutty innings. “I wouldn’t say we insist, I wouldn’t say we panicked, but you can see it’s not right. You can’t necessarily put your thumb on what, why, or what needs to change, but I think anyone would give you the answer I’m giving, which is that we’re not playing our best version of baseball right now and it’s gotta get better become.”

In any case, this one played out very differently from most games during the 1-6 trajectory that preceded it, thanks in large part to Stripling, who kept a soaring Mariners lineup in check.

The key was how he cleverly limited the damage to two runs allowed during rallies in the second and third inning, striking out Sam Haggerty and Andrew Knapp to strand a pair in the second, swinging Suarez to end third after Bo Bichette singled out a gem from Carlos Santana.

“A little bit in traffic all night,” Stripling said of his outing. “I really didn’t feel like I was progressing as well as usual. Looks like the leadoff man was there every inning, but was able to sequence some good at bats there and get some good punch outs in the second and some outs there in the third and fourth and make it to two hold there until five. †

Not buried early for a change, the offense worked starter George Kirby and built innings carefully, even if it didn’t quite fill them as another early season bugaboo — hitting with runners in scoring position — returned as they progressed 2-for-13 through the first five innings and 2-for-18 overall.

“We did get hits, but with men in scoring position we tried too hard,” said Montoyo. “There were some good at bats, but others weren’t so great.”

Perhaps most frustrating was the fourth inning when Santiago Espinal with two runners in midfield dunked a flare into midfield that Julio Rodriguez stormed aggressively enough to knock out league-leader Gurriel Jr. to freeze, allowing him to fire a 99.6 mph charge to third base.

After a strikeout by Cavan Biggio, George Springer walked to load the bases for Bichette, who came to a full count and was then frozen by this mesmerizing 97.6 mph Kirby heater who got a ball out of control before 18 inch horizontal break brought it back to the outer edge.

Who can blame him for slamming his bat into the ground in frustration?

The Blue Jays scored runs on RBI singles by Gurriel in the second and Teoscar Hernandez in the fifth, but there was no deciding hit, leading to increasingly leveraged innings until the 11th.ewhen the Blue Jays couldn’t reach Borucki and ran out of lever arms to give their attack another chance, they had plenty of opportunity one night.

“It’s been ebb and flow all year round, hasn’t it?” said Stripling. “It feels like we did great in April or whatever, and then we struggled and then we do great and then we have a little hard time again. That’s baseball. It’s a 162 game season. This one might feel more raised than most I don’t know if it’s from leading to the all star break or maybe it’s just a few games to be won that we don’t win but I think anyone would say we can play better than some we do.”

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