Blue Jays searching for answers after offence remains cold in ALCS
Toronto Blue Jays' Melvin Upton Jr. (7) reacts to striking out in front of Cleveland Indians' Roberto Perez (55) during ninth inning, game three American League Championship Series baseball action in Toronto on Monday, October 17, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, October 18, 2016 7:38AM EDT
TORONTO - Blue Jays manager John Gibbons felt his team got a spark when he moved Jose Bautista into the leadoff spot during the regular season.
He tried it again Monday in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, but didn't get the same result.
Bautista singled in the third inning for his first hit since Game 1 of the AL Division Series, but the meat of the Toronto lineup was quiet in a 4-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
Gibbons lined up four of his top sluggers - Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Troy Tulowitzki - in the first four spots but collectively they went 2 for 13. Toronto had only seven hits, left seven runners on base and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
The Blue Jays have managed just three runs in the series and are now a loss away from elimination. Outfielder Kevin Pillar, who was 1 for 4, said there's no easy fix when an offence cools off.
“If we knew we'd be doing it,” he said. “That's baseball, it's a tough sport. We just haven't been able to come up with a big hit, it's that simple. It's not from a lack of effort.
“Everyone in here wants to win, everyone in here cares. That's just how it goes sometimes. They're sitting over there with a 3-0 lead because they are getting the timely hits.”
Game 4 goes Tuesday afternoon at Rogers Centre. Gibbons said he doesn't expect to make any significant changes to the batting order for the must-win contest.
“I may have already done that enough,” he said. “No, we'll run the boys out there tomorrow that got us to this point.
“It's a pretty good group. And they're due. They're due. We'll see. We'll see if it's tomorrow.”