They couldn’t hit or pitch well for the balance of the month, resulting in a woeful 9-19 record. That was the team’s lowest wins total in May since 1981.
A trip to Boston this week compounded their misery, as the Red Sox swept them in a three-game series. Toronto can only hope for a rosier June, beginning with a three-game weekend series in Detroit.
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“If it was one thing, we could spend a lot of time and energy trying to fix one thing,” Toronto outfielder Kevin Pillar told MLB.com. “When it’s multiple things, it’s difficult to do. You hate using the cliche, but it’s still early, and I know we have a big hill to climb, but we have a lot of time.”
The Blue Jays already trail the American League East-leading Red Sox by 14 games. As Pillar pointed out, there are plenty of things to straighten out.
They batted a combined .224 during the month and scored three or fewer runs in 15 games. The pitching staff’s ERA was 5.35 and it surrendered eight or more runs on nine occasions.
Josh Donaldson, the team’s best hitter, missed the last two games of the series with a sore right calf. It’s uncertain whether he’ll return this weekend.
Left-hander Jaime Garcia (2-3, 5.52 ERA) will start the opener on Friday night. After a 10-day stint on the disabled list because of shoulder inflammation, he was sharp in his most recent outing on Saturday. He limited Philadelphia to one run and five hits in seven innings.
“He looked totally different than he has all year,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said to MLB.com after Garcia’s last start. “He had great command, and that’s what was hurting him all year. … That 10 days off looks like it did him wonders.”
Garcia has made just one career appearance against Detroit, getting a no-decision while giving up two runs in four innings.
The Tigers will counter with converted reliever Blaine Hardy (1-0, 2.70 ERA). Like Garcia, he’s coming off his best outing of the year. He notched his first career win in a starting role, holding the Chicago White Sox to one run on three hits in seven innings.
In nine career relief outings against the Blue Jays, Hardy is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA.
Detroit has won its last five home series despite even though injuries continue to pile up.
Shortstop Jose Iglesias missed Thursday’s 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels with a right hip contusion. Tigers third baseman Jeimer Candelario was hit on the hand by a pitch and left the game after the fourth inning. Starting pitcher Ryan Carpenter strained his right oblique in the top of the fifth.
“It’s part of the game, it’s kind of crazy,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “Again today out there, you sit there and wonder what the heck’s going on. Got to start checking the water around here, see if we’ve got something in the water.”
The Tigers could get back their most famous slugger this weekend. First baseman Miguel Cabrera will test his hamstring on Friday and if there are no issues he will be activated from the DL.
Cabrera, who is hitting .323 with three homers and 21 RBI, has been sidelined since May 3.