The Blue Jays will send the winless Towers to the mound again in the finale of a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Tropicana Field on Sunday.
Towers (0-7, 10.09 ERA), who won a career-high 13 games last season, has accounted for nearly half of the losses for Toronto (20-16) this season. With A.J. Burnett and Gustavo Chacin recovering from arm injuries, the Blue Jays don’t have an alternative but to keep handing him the ball.
“I don’t know how much longer we can stay in the situation,” Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. “We want to be fair to Josh in one sense and fair to the team, too.
“This is a guy that had a great year for us last year. We just don’t want to turn our back on him, but we also have to think about where we are going this year.”
Towers has allowed 28 of his 34 earned runs this season in the first three innings.
This problem did not occur in his last outing, a 6-5 loss to Oakland on Tuesday. Towers got through the first three innings unscathed before allowing three runs and five hits in the fourth—his final inning of the night.
“I’m shocked. Print that,” Towers said. “I realize what’s been going on. The one inning has been getting me a little bit, but today was different.”
Manager John Gibbons saw it differently.
“He gave up those runs. He fell behind. I decided to make a change,” Gibbons said.
Towers is 6-5 with a 4.52 ERA in 16 career appearances, including 14 starts against Tampa Bay. He’s 4-2 at Tropicana Field.
The Blue Jays won for only the second time in five games against the Devil Rays this season.
Jonny Gomes homered for Tampa Bay’s lone run. Gomes is 6-for-18 with five RBIs against Toronto this season.
Tampa Bay (15-22) continues to struggle on offense, scoring five runs or fewer in 13 straight games. It’s the longest such stretch since a franchise-record 29 straight games from Aug. 22-Sept. 22, 2000.
Third baseman Aubrey Huff has failed to produce since returning to the lineup on May 5. He’s 6-for-43 in eight games after missing three weeks due to a left knee sprain.
Casey Fossum (1-1, 5.36) will start for Tampa Bay. Fossum did not receive a decision in his last start Monday after allowing three runs and six hits over six innings in a 6-3 loss to Seattle.
This will be the second start for the left-hander against Toronto after he yielded six runs and seven hits over 4 2-3 innings in a 9-8 victory on April 7.