Blue Jays manager John Gibbons raves about Orioles' consistency

September 15, 2014|By Dan Connolly | The Baltimore Sun

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons thought his team had a real chance to make a move on the Orioles in the American League East race coming back from the All-Star break.

The Blue Jays were four games out of first place, but they were facing three struggling teams, two at home, while the Orioles had to start on the West Coast with the Oakland Athletics, the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners.

The Orioles went 6-4 on that trip, won five of their next seven games and then took two of three from the Blue Jays in Toronto. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays won 12 of 20 in that stretch, including six in a row at one point, and when the dust settled, they actually lost a game in the standings to the Orioles.

“Playing those teams, they went to Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim, they played well. You’re hoping maybe that catches up with them, but it never did. And they played the same ones back here, and they still played good,” Gibbons said Monday. “We were playing good, too. And we didn’t do much with it.”

When asked what he thought was the difference between the two teams this year, Gibbons said he felt like they were fairly even in pitching and offense, but the Orioles have played better defense.

“They’ve got a good defensive club over there, for sure. They are good at every spot,” he said. “When [Matt] Wieters went down, they brought in two good defenders behind the plate. They are just a good team. Bottom line, they’re just a good team.”

Gibbons was asked whether it would be tough to watch the Orioles clinch the division while the Blue Jays were in town — which will happen if they win two of three games in this series.

“I don’t get caught up in all of that. That’s not what’s on our minds,” he said. “You definitely want to [avoid that]. That means you lost a couple games. And that’s not good for us.”

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