TORONTO -- The Toronto Blue Jays may be down, but in a best-of-seven series, manager John Gibbons feels his team is far from out.
Tonight, the Blue Jays return home to Rogers Centre for Game 3 of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians, who protected home-field advantage over the first two games at Progressive Field and could seize control of the ALCS with a win in Toronto.
“I know this group, been with this whole group the last couple of years, and that's never been an issue,” Gibbons said of confidence. “The same thing happened last year, fell down the first two games on the road, came back and forced it back to Kansas City, won a couple of big games at home.
“Obviously we've got to do that. We play good at home. Get in front of our crowd, maybe that will energize us and maybe get some things going, but our back's against the wall. That's pretty obvious.”
Although the Blue Jays come home to Rogers Centre in an 0-2 hole against the Indians, they are anxious to perform well in front of the home fans.
On the way to an American League Division Series sweep of the Texas Rangers, one of the most potent offenses and strongest pitching staffs in all of baseball, the Blue Jays plated 22 runs, smacked 29 hits and belted 14 extra-base hits, including eight home runs and five doubles.
That playoff success was built upon a foundation laid in the regular season.
Despite having a .248 team batting average, the Blue Jays registered 1,358 hits, including 276 doubles and 221 home runs, drove in 728 runs and scored 759 during the regular season.
And although the Blue Jays have managed just 10 hits in 63 at-bats in the two losses to the Indians, teammates remain confident that the bats will come around in the ALCS.
“Not really worried about it, to be honest with you,” Blue Jays Game 3 starter Marcus Stroman said. “I think that's baseball. Sometimes, you go in spurts. Our offense is amazing. It’s been amazing all year. I count on every, single one of those guys to pick me up.
“I have the confidence in them to go out there and score runs, regardless of what the previous two games were. I don't think that's a pre-showing of what's going to happen. I think our guys have that mentality and confidence to kind of put the games in the past behind them and move forward and kind of take that mentality into each and every game.”