CLEVELAND – Ask a Blue Jays fan still hesitant to believe in the team whether a 5-4, nine-game run through Baltimore, Minnesota and Cleveland would be satisfactory early in the season, and the answer likely would be in the affirmative. Sam Hubbard Jersey . Yet its those defeats, snatched from the jaws of victory, which sting the most and Toronto had two of them on the trip. The Jays led 4-2 in the sixth inning when Aaron Loup walked the bases loaded and gave up a bases-clearing, three-RBI double to the Indians David Murphy. Cleveland had a lead it wouldnt relinquish, ultimately winning the game 6-4. The meltdown was relatively minor compared to Thursday nights eighth inning debacle in Minnesota, which saw three relievers give up six runs on just one hit and an unseemly eight walks in a 9-5 loss to the Twins. Its jarring because the Blue Jays bullpen has been consistently reliable. It raises two concerns about the pitching staff. First: the walks. Six more on Sunday afternoon for a season total of 81, which pending the behaviour of Arizona Diamondbacks pitchers in their game against the Dodgers later Sunday, ranks second-most in baseball. "The walks have killed us so far," pitching coach Pete Walker told TSN.ca before Sundays game. "I think its cost us a couple of ballgames." Walks just cost them another one. Second: with the exception of Mark Buehrle, the starting staffs inability to pitch deep into games. "Bottom line, weve got to get some innings out of our starters or our bullpen will be dead come May," said manager John Gibbons after Sundays defeat. Such was the dichotomy of Brandon Morrows performance on Sunday. His six strikeouts over five-plus innings belied the fact Indians hitters battled him throughout. Michael Bourn led off the game with a nine-pitch at-bat. He struck out. In the second, Michael Brantley put the Indians ahead 1-0 with a solo home run on the ninth pitch. An inning later, in the third, Jason Kipnis worked a full-count, 10-pitch walk. Morrow was done at 95 pitches one hitter into the sixth. He threw almost 30 per cent of his pitches (28 of 95) in those three plate appearances alone, leaving Gibbons to wish for more efficiency. "I havent been able to do it as much as I would like to," said Morrow of pitching into the sixth and seventh innings. "Today it was one long inning in the middle; without that I would have been in a better position to finish that sixth." Walker is preaching contact early in counts. He doesnt want pitchers worried about strikeout totals. He wants aggression and laments that radar gun readings are posted on electronic scoreboards. "Its trusting your stuff and really believing that your fastball is good enough that day," said Walker. "I think a couple of our guys might be down in velocity and sometimes that affects your approach. You dont see that 97 on the board and its 92, 93 and all of a sudden you dont trust that fastball in as much as you did last year." Its easy to fall in love with the radar gun and easy to forget that the Blue Jays best pitcher to this point, Mark Buehrle, no longer tops 84 miles per hour with his fastball. "I think it comes down to realizing its not the velocity, its the location," said Walker. "Your fastball is your fastball that given day and it needs to be located regardless. I think, for the most part, thats what we need to get back to and thats something were focusing on is fastball command and pitching inside a little more aggressively." Through 19 games Blue Jays starters have pitched 103 2/3 innings, averaging less than 5 2/3 innings per start. A team with playoff aspirations needs more. R.A. Dickey is presented with the next opportunity to join Buehrle in bucking the troubling trend. He starts Tuesday nights series opener at home with Baltimore. NAVARROS STRANGE ALLERGY If youve been to a Blue Jays game and noticed that Dioner Navarro kicks away the catchers box chalk outline before kneeling for first inning warm up pitches, theres a good reason. Navarros allergic to chalk. The problem dates back years to Navarros minor league days. He would come home after games with skin cracks on his hands. His wife put two and two together since Navarro would always swipe at the dirt to improve his grip, and she suggested he be tested for allergies. Now its habit for Navarro to kick away the chalk before the game begins. Logan Woodside Bengals Jersey . As the Winnipeg Blue Bombers opened their main training camp Sunday, Kuale is one of the newcomers brought in to bolster a sagging defence that ranked overall where the Bombers finished 2013, in the CFL cellar with a league high 585 points against. Mark Walton Jersey . Almost 40 years to the day, the two teams will meet again, this time at BC Place, to celebrate the past and try to earn important points for the present. http://www.bengalsauthoritystore.com/Authentic-Mark-Walton-Bengals-Jersey/ . The 6-foot-10 centre who won an NBA title with the Miami Heat was voted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday, adding that honour to becoming a board member at his alma mater.Each week, The Reporters put their thumbs out to the good and the bad in the world of sports. This week they discuss the Paralympic spirit, a good day for King James, the future of football in Toronto and one truly ugly game at Staples Center. Bruce Arthur, The National Post: My thumb is up to the Paralympics, which began Friday in Sochi, or, more specifically to the Paralympians involved. There were calls for athlete boycotts after Russia sent troops into Ukraine the day after the Olympics ended, but an athlete boycott was a silly and callous idea; it would have no effect on the invasion except to deprive those who push the edge of human possibility from something they deserve, even in a diminished spotlight. Instead, at the opening ceremony Friday, we saw a significant political statement from Ukraine, which sent just one of its 23 athletes to march in the opening ceremony. We didnt see anything that meaningful two weeks ago; Im glad we saw it now. The Paralympics, and Paralympians, deserve whatever spotlight they get. Steve Simmons, Sun Media: My thumb is up to LeBron James, and not for being the best player in the NBA or for the career-high 61 points he tossed up the other night. LeBron travelled last night to Cleveland, between games and against the advice of the Miami Heat, so he could be part of the ceremony that honoured his former Cavaliers teammate Zydrunas Ilgauskas. LeBron played more games with Ilgauskas as a teammate than anyone else he has played with in his 11-year career and he wanted to be there for his good friend and to see him honoured. Jessie Bates III Jersey. In an NBA world in which selfishness reigns supreme, King James showed another side of himself last night. A surprisingly likable side. Dave Naylor, TSN Radio: My thumb is up to the Buffalo Bills who this week pulled the plug - at least for one year - on the Bills in Toronto series. For something that once stirred rabid debate across this country, the Bills playing in Toronto turned out to be much ado about nothing. The product was lousy, the prices too high and – oh, yes - that infamous news conference. But what also became obvious was the disconnect between Torontos sports fans and somebody elses NFL team. I dont know if there will ever be another NFL game played in Toronto, but the only way it makes sense is if one of the teams playing is Toronto. Dave Hodge, TSN: It was going to be "thumbs down" to the LA Lakers for the worst game in their history - that would be Thursdays loss by 48 points to the Clippers - but really, it should be "thumbs up" to the Lakers for their contribution to the anti-tanking movement, which seeks to change the NBAs draft lottery. Theres no proof that the Lakers tanked against the Clippers, except the scoreboard, and the 18,000 eyewitnesses at Staples Center, and the open encouragement of a "Riggin for Wiggins" campaign. The NBA needs to act, and the NHL needs to follow before next season a strategy unfolds that could be known as "Lose honor, get Connor". 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