Factoring in Sunday's effort in the team's 9-1 loss to the Royals and Monday's scoreless eighth in the 7-5 victory over the Tigers, the hard-throwing left-hander has allowed six runs on nine hits over his last 3 2/3 innings and six appearances. Thornton's problems began with Travis Hafner's two-run, ninth-inning homer on May 2, continued with Jhonny Peralta's walk-off homer to right-center on May 4 and culminated with a 1-0 lead turning into a 2-1 deficit after he entered in the series finale against the Royals.
Thornton's mantra always has been to not let any short period of struggles become too prolonged but understands this period has been long enough and detrimental enough to the team.
"I've gotten two blown saves and three losses in the last week," said Thornton, who shares late-inning responsibilities with right-handers Addison Reed and Nate Jones and left-hander Hector Santiago. "That's the worst part about it right there, the situation I'm pitching in and failing.
"I know I'm going to have ups and downs throughout the year, but it's pretty frustrating that I've had a run of about 10 days of not getting the job done. It's one of those things where I just have to focus better and make better pitches when I'm ahead of hitters.
"It's a matter of execution, executing a big pitch for me," Thornton said. "I've been throwing the ball pretty well actually and making some good pitches. But when I do make a mistake, it's getting hit and hit hard and costing us games."
Thornton lamented giving up Peralta's homer on an 0-2 pitch and then Johnny Giavotella's go-ahead double in the seventh Sunday on a 1-2 pitch. He also wasn't pleased with the walk issued to left-handed hitting Jarrod Dyson prior to Giavotella's hit, giving a free pass to a guy he wants to make put the ball in play.
All of these issues add up to Thornton's current 4.30 ERA after ending April at 0.82.
"For me, if you have a bad game, you want to bounce out of that and string together a bunch of good ones and go have seven, eight, nine good games in a row before something bad happens again," Thornton said. "I'm in a rut right now.
"This is about getting back out there and attacking hitters and getting ahead of them. It's a huge key for me getting ahead, making them put the ball in play, getting contact and trying to get double plays."