The Blue Jays rotation is either in a state of flux or in a mess — take your pick.

With Josh Johnson and J.A. Happ on the disabled list and Ricky Romero dispatched to Buffalo due to incompetence, the Jays once again have run short of pitching.

It’s not quite like the week in June last season when they lost three starters — two of them requiring Tommy John surgery — but the Jays are definitely up against it as far as finding bodies for their beat-up rotation.

In Thursday night’s finale against the Tampa Bay Rays, the Jays lost it 5-4 in the worst way imaginable as in the 10th inning, Brad Lincoln came on with two on and two out and walked both batters he faced to hand the Rays a 5-4 victory.

It was their most bitter loss of the season.

Manager John Gibbons was seething.

“You shouldn’t lose games like that, you’ve got to throw strikes,” he said. “It’s pretty simple you know. Let them hit their way to victory.

“Roberts (Ryan, the first batter Lincoln faced) is a guy we can get but we walked him. Then we had the lead and fell behind Escobar (Yunel in the seventh) and he takes us deep (for a homer that tied it 4-4). It’s frustrating. It’s a disappointing loss, it really is. We had the lead and coughed it up. They get the big win when we couldn’t throw strikes.”

R.A. Dickey started for the Jays, lasted six innings but was not pleased to have walked five.

“I’m much more efficient usually,” he said. “I’ve got to try and find a way to repeat my delivery and allow me to throw more strikes.”

The Jays are now 4-8 in one-run games.

“It’s just sad because you pour your heart and soul into a game and it doesn’t always end up with a win,” Dickey said of losing the tight ones. “We’re playing hard. We’re not, maybe, playing the smartest baseball but we’re playing hard as crud.”

As for the rotation, Ramon Ortiz will fill one of the open spots on Friday and after that the Jays will make it up as they go along. Brandon Morrow has been pushed back to Sunday due to a muscle tweak in his back so who knows how that’s going to play out.

“I think any time you lose member of your rotation, you can never replace those guys,” general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. “The guys that are hurt right now (Happ and Johnson) should be back in three to four weeks. We don’t expect it to be a prolonged absence for these guys. We need to get through it the next few weeks and hopefully with the offence swinging the bats a little bit more we can still win some games.”