The Toronto Blue Jays offence has gone cold at the worst possible time.
The Cleveland Indians beat the Blue Jays 4-2 in game three of the ALCS Monday night, taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the series. Toronto needs a win Tuesday afternoon to stay alive in the playoffs.
You can hear game four of the ALCS on AM980 starting at 3 p.m. with the pre-game, first pitch is scheduled for 4:08 p.m.
Toronto’s offence has gone in the tank in the series, the Blue Jays have yet to hold a lead and are hitting just .177 (17-for-96). The Blue Jays have scored only three runs in three games while striking out 34 times.
That’s in stark contrast to the wild-card game and the ALDS when the Blue Jays slugged 10 homeruns.
WATCH ABOVE: Jays fans react to ALCS Game 3
The Indians won Monday’s game with a bullpen by committee.
Trevor Bauer started the game but was pulled after only four batters due to a bleeding hand. Bauer was supposed to start Saturday’s game two in Cleveland but was pushed back to Monday after he cut his right pinky finger while fixing one of his drones, resulting in 11 stitches.
Bauer had wanted burn his finger shut but the Indians refused. It didn’t take long for the wound to re-open on Monday, with blood leaking from his finger.
“When I went out there, I mean – first thing I saw was blood on the rubber,” said Indians manager Terry Francona. “I figured that wasn’t a real good sign that things were going well. It was bleeding pretty good.”
Francona was forced to go to his bullpen and used seven pitchers, including Bauer, to get the win.
The Indians bullpen gave up 7 hits but no one pitcher went longer than two innings, meaning all will be available for Tuesday’s pivotal game four.
It isn’t known how long Bauer will be out. The Cleveland starting rotation was already shorthanded due to the late-season injuries to Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar.
Mike Napoli and Jason Kipnis homered for Cleveland, Napoli also drove in the first run of the game in the first inning with a double.
The Indians did such a good job Monday night, all the Blue Jays could do was tip their cap.
“Tito (Francona) did a masterful job running that bullpen today,” said Toronto manager John Gibbons. “They shut us down. I’m not going to get into who’s did what, this or that. But they did a great job going through a number of guys and did a good job shutting us down.”
WATCH: Toronto Blue Jays fans watch Game 3 eagerly as team takes on Cleveland
Game one starter Corey Kluber will pitch on three days rest for Cleveland on Tuesday. Kluber pitched 6 1/3 last Friday in the Indians 2-0 shutout of the Blue Jays to start the series.
Aaron Sanchez will get the start for Toronto, making the biggest start of his young career.
History is not in the Blue Jays favour if they’re going to reach the World Series. Of the past 35 teams to go down 3-0 in a best-of-seven series in the majors, only the 2004 Boston Red Sox have rebounded to advance. The 2004 Red Sox also won the World Series.
“It’s either you win or you go home and I don’t want to go home. And I don’t think anybody in this clubhouse wants to go home yet,” said Toronto catcher Russell Martin.
A win for Cleveland on Tuesday would put them in the World Series for the first time since 1997. The Indians haven’t won it all since 1948.