Toronto

Toronto Blue Jays fans try to keep the faith as team faces sweep in ALCS

Toronto Blue Jays' season is on the line today when they play Cleveland in Game 4 of the ALCS, and, for some fans, it’s just too hard to picture a clear path to the World Series.

Can the Jays beat Cleveland’s ace and win 4 straight games?

Josh Donaldson can hardly stand to watch as his Jays lose Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Toronto Blue Jays' season is on the line today when they play Cleveland in Game 4 of the ALCS, and, for some fans, it's just too hard to picture a clear path to the World Series.

The Jays lost Game 3 at the Rogers Centre 4-2 on Monday night. Cleveland's pitchers shut down hitter after hitter. Fans who had hoped it would be the perfect springboard back into the best-of-seven American League Championship Series left shaken.

Darin Gibbons, a diehard Blue Jays fan who has been to over 30 games this season, including the three-game series at Boston's Fenway Park that propelled the team into the post-season, was suffering a crisis of faith after Game 3.

How can the Jays win four in a row, beginning with a victory with Jays' Aaron Sanchez on the mound against ace Corey Kluber?

"I don't think they can," Darin Gibbons told CBC News outside the Rogers Centre, shaking his head.

"They had to win tonight."

"C'mon now," his son Andrew said, clapping him on the shoulder.

Dejected fans wait until the sold-out Rogers Centre in Toronto clears before making their way to the exits. Some fans didn't even make it to the finish of the 4-2 loss. (John Rieti/CBC)

The elder Gibbons — "call me Gibby, like the manager" — does give the Jays this: they won't just roll over.

"These guys, they battle," he said.

The Blue Jays' real manager, by the way, vowed that his team would be ready for Game 4, set to begin at 4 p.m. ET today at the Rogers Centre, and is ready to stage a big comeback. "It's been done before," John Gibbons told reporters.

The problem is, that feat is rare. According to Major League Baseball, Francona's 2004 Red Sox are the only team to rally from a 3-0 deficit and win a best-of-seven postseason series. It occurred against the New York Yankees, and the Red Sox went on to win the World Series.

Cleveland fans: 'We've got one more game in us'

Over post-game hotdogs, a group of five fans from Central Butte, Sask., who flew in for the series said just one win would be a good start.

Sure, chances are slim, they agreed, but the Jays were just one hit away from tying things up a whole bunch of times. Maybe if the Jays can find that one missing hit, things will change.

Fans watched with frustration as a string of Cleveland relievers came into the game to shut down Jays hitters. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press)

Elliot Nicely and Scott Johnson, Cleveland fans who drove up after work for the game, said that while they're delighted with the Game 3 win, they've still got concerns.

"We can get compromised very quickly," Nicely said, referring to Cleveland's injury-plagued lineup.

Although, "We've got one more game in us to close out the series," he said.

Cleveland manager Terry Francona, echoed Nicely's thoughts in his post-game press conference while praising the work of his bullpen, which was pressed into duty early after starter Trevor Bauer's wounded finger started bleeding.

"If anybody has a hiccup, we probably lose," Francona told reporters.

Faith vs. baseball

Another sellout crowd is expected at the Rogers Centre for Game 4 on Tuesday, but will the fans be able to will their team to a win? (John Rieti/CBC)

Faith can be a tricky thing for baseball fans. In your heart, you can always hope for — or even expect — that breakthrough hit or shutdown strikeout. But when you understand the cold, almost ruthless way baseball probability plays out, it can be difficult to see a way forward.

But for some, that's all they see.

Brothers Anthony and Nicholas Signorile, who both play youth baseball, aren't sure how the Jays will do it, but both believe a comeback is possible.

For the younger Anthony, there's literally nothing you could say that would make him doubt the Jays, though he agrees with his parents, Vito and Roxanne, that they need to get more runners on base and stop swinging for home runs.

Nicholas is slightly more skeptical, going as far as admitting it "may be hard" for the team to win the series now.

They won't have to wait long to put that faith to the test. His parents will be driving the boys back home to Sudbury, Ont., overnight, they'll go to class in the afternoon and then it'll be game time all over again.

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