Towers vents after Toronto's tough loss
Right-hander unhappy with team's effort in series opener
CHICAGO -- Josh Towers couldn't find the exit fast enough. Just a few minutes after the Blue Jays dropped a 4-3 decision to the White Sox on Friday, the Toronto pitcher bolted through the doors of the visitors' clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field.
While a security guard in the tunnel tried to call for a cab to help Towers flee the scene, the steamed starter approached a group a reporters, willing to vent his frustration over Toronto's latest effort. Towers didn't hold back in the wake of a game he felt should've undoubtedly netted a victory for the Jays.
"We just gave the game away. Personally, that's what I think," Towers said. "Today was just a game that I felt we were in complete control of and we should've won and we didn't. All around, it just wasn't a great game played by us.
"I just don't think that we consistently put ourselves in positions to make plays ahead of time," he continued. "I don't think we were heads up. I don't think we consistently show up as a coaching staff and as a team every day, and I think it shows sometimes."
Towers (5-7) took the loss for Toronto (51-51), which saw its season-high five-game winning streak come to a screeching halt in the opener of a three-game set on Chicago's South Side. What especially irked Towers was the fact that Jays manager John Gibbons pulled him from the game when Toronto led, 3-2, in the sixth inning.
After retiring Jermaine Dye on a flyout to open the sixth, Towers put two runners on by hitting A.J. Pierzynski with a pitch and yielding a single to Josh Fields. Out from the dugout strolled Gibbons, who opted to then turn to left-handed reliever Brian Tallet against Chicago's Scott Podsednik, who had been retired twice by Towers.
"We were winning the game and I thought I was pitching well," said Towers, who also allowed a solo homer to Dye in the second. "It never even dawned on me that I'd be coming out. Podsednik rolled into a double play and got out the next at-bat also. I was completely surprised.
"I was shocked to even see [Gibbons] come out in the sixth inning. I felt like I was pitching well enough and I felt like I was getting out of it. They got lucky on a couple balls, but they didn't hit anything hard, except for Dye's homer."
Towers, who was charged with four runs on seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, pleaded his case on the mound, but Gibbons had made up his mind. Gibbons defended his decision after the game, which turned against Toronto when Tallet allowed a two-run double to Juan Uribe in the sixth that put Chicago ahead, 4-3.
"Tallet has been dominating righties all year," Gibbons said. "But this guy -- Uribe is an aggressive guy -- you can't lay a fastball in there. He threw it right down Broadway."
Uribe's hit erased the work of Toronto's offense, which managed three fourth-inning runs against White Sox starter Jon Garland (8-7). Frank Thomas, Aaron Hill and Matt Stairs each drove in a run against Garland, who improved to 9-2 in his career against the Jays after turning in 7 1/3 innings.
"He hit the guy and gave up a base hit. I felt it was time," said Gibbons, explaining his decision to pull Towers. "I've been one of the biggest Josh Towers backers, contrary to what people might think. He pitched tough."
Aside from the timing of his in-game departure, Towers also was miffed at the overall effort by the Blue Jays. Toronto committed two errors against the White Sox (47-56) and made a few other non-plays that led to some costly runs.
Prior to Uribe's game-changing double, Tallet induced a ground ball off the bat of Podsednik. Stairs, who was filling in at first base for a sick Lyle Overbay, misplayed the ball before forcing Podsednik out at first, missing a chance to potentially turn a double play.
"He bobbled it. What are you going to do?" Gibbons said.
In the fifth, Uribe reached on an infield single and advanced to second base on a wild pitch by Towers. Later in the frame, Chicago's Alex Cintron looped a pitch just inside the foul line in left field, where the ball dropped just beyond third baseman Troy Glaus' glove. What might've been an inning-ending flyout led to a second run for the White Sox.
"I expect a better effort every day," Towers said. "We were in full control of the game, I thought, and I think that we handed it back right to them -- and to me it was embarrassing."
Gibbons didn't agree with Towers' take on the club's effort.
"Did it look to you guys like it was a lack of effort?" Gibbons asked reporters. "You've been watching us all year. It's the same team. Does it look like a lack of effort? I didn't see that."
Towers' tirade comes in the midst of reports that the Phillies have expressed minimal interest in trading for the right-hander, who is under contract for $2.9 million this season. Philadelphia sent a representative to watch Towers pitch in Toronto last week, but Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said on Friday he hadn't heard back from the Phillies.
Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline is just around the corner, but Towers said he hasn't been affected by hearing his name in rumors.
"We joked around about it after whoever put it in the paper," Towers said. "We joked around about it, but that's all it was -- a joke to us. That's neither here nor there. You show up and you're either traded or you're not."
When the Blue Jays show up on Saturday, Towers' comments aren't likely to be a laughing matter.
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.