Mottola points to pressing offense for recent woes

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays offense has struggled of late, scoring only 12 runs in the team's past five games entering Thursday's finale against the White Sox, and sits 22nd in the league in runs scored.

It's obvious the team is missing Jose Bautista's bat in the middle of the lineup, and other than a couple of players, the Blue Jays just simply haven't found any consistency at the plate. Adding to the team's troubles is a .185 average with runners in scoring position, and it's clear why Toronto has struggled to score runs.

"I think it's just them pressing and trying to pick up the guys that we are missing from the lineup," said hitting coach Chad Mottola prior to Thursday's game against the White Sox.

Most hitters aren't allowing themselves to work deeper into the count, and when they do, they're expanding the zone and swinging at balls that are out of the strike zone, according to Mottola.

The team has been without its biggest bat in Bautista the past week and lost its hottest bat in Jose Reyes, so it's easy to see why the club may be trying to pick up the slack, although it's counterproductive to an offense.

"I think that if everyone goes out there and does what they're capable of doing and doesn't go beyond that, then we're going to be a lot better off," Brett Lawrie said. "But I feel if we go out and try and do more than we're capable of doing, that's when things are going to go wrong."

Mottola said that the team just needs to score three or four runs in the first inning and take some pressure off of themselves.

"What happens is we're not scoring first, then you're seeing at-bats change," he said.

Lawrie had an even easier suggestion.

"We all just need to take a big deep breath," he said, "and go out there and play."

Steph Rogers is a contributor to Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.