The full quote from Toronto Blue Jays right-hander R.A. Dickey, via the Toronto Star, goes like this:
“It’s just sad, because you pour your heart and soul into the game and it doesn’t always end up in a win. We’re playing hard. We’re not maybe playing the smartest baseball, but we’re playing hard as crud.”
Dickey, often a considerate sort, is being PG-rated by using "crud" instead of "hell" or a worse expletive. Regardless, "Hard as crud" ought to become a rallying cry/T-shirt marketing slogan immediately.
There's playing hard as crud, and there's also playing "like crud," which the Jays are, as evidenced by a 13-23 record.
Dickey's lamentations came after a tough-to-swallow 5-4 loss in 10 innings at Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Toronto had won the previous two games with spirited comebacks, but had to settle for a 2-2 series split at Tropicana Field. Blue Jays pitchers walked eight batters in the finale and the last one, by reliever Brad Lincoln, forced in the winning run. The excruciating end capped a strange day that included the Jays sending Ricky Romero back to the minors after an ill-conceived one-start promotion. Josh Johnson and J.A. Happ, two other starting pitchers, have been put on the disabled list. The Jays' problems are thick as crud right now.
Injuries are one thing — and Dickey, who walked five, hasn't been healthy, either. But what about the things you can control? Manager John Gibbons was described as "furious" when he ripped his pitchers for lacking control:
“You shouldn’t lose games like that,” Gibbons said. “You’ve got to throw strikes. It’s pretty simple. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but you need to throw strikes. Get beat, let ’em hit their way to victory.”
OK, but don't be surprised if the other team starts ringing out doubles and home runs because pitches are catching too much of the plate. It's how the Jays season has gone so far.