Toronto’s John Gibbons couldn’t have asked for a better managerial debut. One night later, he got a better sense of what leading the Blue Jays has been like.
Gibbons looks to find a way to stop the streaking Cleveland Indians as the teams continue their three-game series at Jacobs Field.
The Blue Jays fired Carlos Tosca on Sunday and replaced him for the rest of the season with the 42-year-old Gibbons, Toronto’s first-base coach since Tosca took over from Buck Martinez on June 3, 2002. Gibbons, a former catcher who had 50 career at-bats over 18 games with the New York Mets in 1984, 1986 and 1987, spent seven seasons as a minor league manager with the Mets. He filled in three times for Tosca, winning each time.
Toronto won in Gibbons’ debut Monday, beating AL East-leading New York 5-4 at Yankee Stadium and snapping a five-game losing streak. However, the Blue Jays followed that with a 2-0 loss to the Indians on Tuesday—their AL-worst 10th shutout of the season. Orlando Hudson had two of the Blue Jays’ five hits.
Gibbons said that while he knows a postseason berth is likely out of the question, his team still has plenty to play for.
“We have a chance to play the spoiler now,” he said. “That motivates guys. We know they’re going to give their best and produce. If they put up a solid year and finish strong, it’s going to pay off come contract time. Let’s fact it—that’s a big part of this game.”
The Blue Jays can start playing spoiler against the Indians, who have won six of their last seven games. Cleveland is 41-29 since May 27 and are four games over .500 this late in the season for the first time since 2001.
Ronnie Belliard went 2-for-3 with two RBIs Tuesday for the Indians, who moved into second place in the AL Central by taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox coming into this series. Cleveland moved within four games of the first-place Minnesota Twins, who lost 4-3 to Seattle on Tuesday.
“We’re having a lot of fun,” catcher Victor Martinez said. “We’re not surprised by this. It’s exciting and we think we can get even better.”