R.A. Dickey, the NL Cy Young winner last season, may have said it best after the Toronto Blue Jays’ loss on Saturday

“We’re somewhat of a dysfunctional team right now,” Dickey told the Associated Press.

At the beginning of the season, the Blue Jays were supposed to be among the elite clubs in the major leagues after acquiring pitchers Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson, along with Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera, in the off-season.

Toronto figured to be at least a contender in the American League East, if not the favorite.

But the Blue Jays found themselves with a 10-21 record after Saturday’s 8-1 loss to Seattle, which was their fourth straight defeat. They were outscored 25-3 in those four games.

Dickey, who has lost some velocity and hasn’t received much in the way of run support, fell to 2-5. He was booed after allowing six hits, including three home runs, and seven earned runs in six innings.

“I did hear them, it was not hard to,” Dickey said of the fans. “You can’t blame them. We’ve played below our expectation. We’re booing ourselves.”

The bad start hasn’t helped the team’s confidence.

“We’re all pretty beat up mentally right now, but you’ve got to get through that,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “That’s professional baseball. There’s a lot of season left. You get tested and you find out what you’re made of.”

Injuries have played a part in the Blue Jays’ poor start.

Johnson hasn’t pitched since April 21, and was placed on the disabled list last Thursday with inflammation in his right triceps. Shortstop Jose Reyes suffered a severely sprained left ankle on an awkward slide into second base in a game against Kansas City on April 12, and will be out at least until the All-Star break.

Buehrle went 1-2 with a 7.02 ERA in his first seven starts. He has allowed at least seven hits in each of his outings, and at least five runs in five starts. Toronto’s pitching staff ranked 28th overall, with a 4.73 ERA going into Tuesday’s game.

The Jays’ offense hasn’t been much better. Toronto ranked 26th in batting through Monday’s game with a .235 average (Melky Cabrera led the team at .258); 18th in the majors with 125 runs, and 25th with a .301 on-base percentage.

They can still hit home runs though, ranking fourth with 41. Edwin Encarnacion, J.P. Arencibia and Jose Bautista combined for 25 homers.

Trailing Boston by 9 1/2 games, and in last place in the AL East on Tuesday, the Blue Jays were enjoying a modest two-game win streak.

“We’ve got a group of great guys,” Dickey said. “And the chemistry in here, nobody is blaming other people. We’re all trying to own what ours is to own this. But we’re not very good right now and everybody knows it. That’s no secret.”

StatsWatch: Pitchers who have thrown the most strikeouts in the major leagues (through Monday) –

  • Yu Darvish, Rangers, 72
  • A.J. Burnett, Pirates, 57
  • Clay Buchholz, Red Sox, 56
  • Max Scherzer, Tigers, 54
  • Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers, 52
  • Jeff Samardzija, Cubs, 52
  • Felix Hernandez, Mariners, 51
  • Justin Verlander, Tigers, 50
  • Anibal Sanchez, Tigers, 50
  • Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, 48

Diamond Notes: Atlanta Braves catcher Brian McCann was ready to come off the disabled list on Monday after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder last October. McCann had been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Gwinnett. The six-time All-Star has hit at least 20 homers, and has driven in at least 67 runs in each of his past five seasons…Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez has been placed on the 15-day DL due to a strained left hamstring. Ramirez was injured while trying to run from first to third in Friday’s loss to San Francisco…Former major league player Hideki Matsui received the People’s Honor Award at a ceremony at the Tokyo Dome on Sunday. Matsui played seven seasons for the New York Yankees, and a season each for the Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A’s and Tampa Bay Rays. “I played for excellent teams, with excellent teammates, for excellent managers in front of excellent fans,” Matsui said. “I did my best to lift up, even a little bit, the game of baseball that is so beloved by the people of Japan.”

Copyright © 2013 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.


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