Another chilly night in the Bronx against the visiting Blue Jays to complete their first series of the season.
CC Sabathia got his first start of the season tonight and started out with a really nice quick 1st inning. It just didn’t carry over. In the 2nd, 3 singles quickly loaded the bases with no outs and then all 3 of those runners promptly scored on a single and 2 ground outs, before another single scored the 4th and final Blue Jays’ run of the inning. And just like that, the Jays were up 4-0 over the Yankees. An RBI single and a throwing error by Beltran in the 6th tagged an additional run on the Jays’ score, and force the Yankees to turn the ball over. Overall, Sabathia’s 95 pitches took him just 5.2 innings, giving up 8 hits and 5 runs (4 earned), but he did strike out 8 batters.
Esmil Rogers was called on to finish Sabathia’s 6th inning and to take the ball into the 7th and 8th innings, keeping the Jays from adding any further runs to their expanding score. And save an 8th inning solo shot from one of the Jays better hitters, Rogers did a really remarkable job — allowing just that hit (albeit a home run), but no other base runners and adding another strikeout to the pitching staff’s total.
Reliever David Carpenter finished the game for the Yankees in the 9th inning, adding the 10th and final strikeout of the game for the Yankees pitching staff. Too bad it wasn’t enough to hope for an offense.
Look, the Blue Jays and the Yankees were nearly evenly matched in their pitching today. I hate to admit this, but you long-term readers will know that I do acknowledge Yankee weaknesses when they appear and opponents’ strengths when they appear. The fact is that the Blue Jays’ pitching staff basically had similar outcomes to the Yankees, just the lingering pitches over the strike zone allowed some of the Jays’ better hitters to, well, hit better in that 2nd inning kerfuffle. 10 strikeouts per team, 8 total Blue Jay hits to the Yankees total 6. Their starter went 5.2 inning with 97 pitches, Sabathia nearly the same (see above). The only thing glaringly different (other than runs scored) is that the Jays gave up 2 walks, while the Yankees gave up none.
As far as runs scored, there were definitely some opportunities that weren’t taken — like runners in scoring position with no outs that were left stranded. It wasn’t until the bottom of the 5th that the Yankees finally got a run. Murphy, who hit 2 nice doubles tonight, led-off the inning with one of those doubles and then scored on Didi Gregorius’ single.
Then in the 6th, things were looking up for the Yankees once again. Down 5-1, it becomes batting practice as both Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira hit solo home runs out over left field to make it 5-3. But that was it. Further hits allowed for stranded runners and the rally fizzled.
Final Score: 6-3 Toronto, the Jays take the first series 2-1.
Also, prior to the game, there was some chatter about how Jacoby Ellsbury had successfully stolen a base in his last 16 consecutive attempts to do so. That streak was broken tonight when he was thrown out trying to make it 17.
Well, everyone, gear up. It’s Red Sox weekend in the Bronx. And while winning is always the goal and always feels wonderful, winning against the Red Sox is always just a bit sweeter. Maybe almost a century’s worth of good-natured rivalry just does more to fan the flames. On both sides of this divide though, true fans just revel in it. Weekend goals: defeat the Red Sox, show dominance, be merciless, and just kick it up a notch. It may be early, it may be April, but it’s always a good time for the Sox to lose. I know, I know, spoken like a true Yankee fan… well, guess what…