Reeling Blue Jays hold players-only meeting after loss to Rays
The Blue Jays have lost nine of their past 11 games, with all those defeats coming at the hands of American League East rivals
The Toronto Blue Jays continue to spiral.
After dropping their series finale against the Tampa Bay Rays by a score of 6-3 Thursday, the Blue Jays have lost nine of their past 11 games, with all those defeats coming at the hands of American League East rivals. The past three series have gone as follows for manager John Schneider's club:
Lost three of four to the New York Yankees
Lost all three games to the Baltimore Orioles
Lost three of four to the Rays
As a result, Toronto sits in last place in the division, with a 26-25 record, and trails the first-place Rays by 10.5 games. There's still plenty of time to make up ground over the next four months, but the Blue Jays' preseason expectations of winning the AL East are looking like a pipe dream at this point.
Frustration has been mounting in recent days, with Schneider saying "enough is enough" after Sunday's loss to the Orioles and starting pitcher Chris Bassitt declaring Monday that Toronto had "a lot of things to clean up." Members of the team took things a step further after Thursday's setback by holding a players-only meeting.
Blue Jays third baseman Matt Chapman, one of the team's leaders, didn't want to discuss what was said behind closed doors but offered these comments, via Sportsnet's Shi Davidi.
“We’re all grown men here. It’s up to us. We’re the ones on the field. Our coaches can’t hold our hands. We have to go out there and find ways to win games. We have to communicate with each other and help try to make each other better.
"We are a team, and we want to win. If we want to win a division or play in the playoffs, it’s up to us to find ways to get back on track. It’s up to nobody else but us ...
"Everything gets magnified when you’re not winning. The biggest thing we have to work on is finding ways to win games when we’re not tearing the cover off the ball. We have had some defensive miscues all around, and we haven’t been able to finish off innings on the mound. We win as a team, and we lose as a team.
"There’s no rhyme or reason as to why we’re going through this stretch right now. The way for us to get out is to come together and find ways to win. It might not be pretty, but we need to get back in the win column.”
Schneider admitted that if the players hadn't called the meeting, the coaching staff would have done so.
“We were punched right in the face the last 10 days or so," Schneider said, according to Davidi. "You've got to understand that, and you've got to make adjustments, and you've got to have the right attitude, and you've got to have the right focus going forward.
“In talking to the guys and hearing them, it's got to happen tomorrow. Yes, it's a tough division. Yes, [the Rays] are a good team. We're still a good team, too. So little things today. You outhit the opponent again. You don't control the running game. You're careless with the baseball. Can't happen. Starting tomorrow, it's a new series, and hopefully those things are taken care of.”
Perhaps finally getting to play teams outside their division will help the Blue Jays get back on track. Next up is a three-game road series against the Minnesota Twins, who lead the American League Central even while having the same number of wins as Toronto.