Someone scrawled on the whiteboard in the visitor’s clubhouse: “Cheer up everybody. We won the series. Still in first place.”
Someone should have added that when the rookie Luis Severino is pitching the Yankees need to back him up with some runs. Because while Severino is a really good pitcher, the Yankees just aren’t scoring runs in games he’s starting to give him his first win. In the weekend series finale against the Blue Jays, Severino threw another great game, but with no real run support. Severino threw 104 pitches in his 6 innings, giving up just 5 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs, and striking out a whopping 9 Toronto batters. This biggest struggle for Severino was in the 3rd. With two outs, he struggled to get the third out of the inning. First, a double was initially ruled an error when Beltran lost the fly ball in the bright summer sun (later amended to be a hit, as is the case with most “lost in the sun” balls). Then that runner scored on a single. A home run scored two more for the Blue Jays before Severino finally got his third out — a strikeout.
In the 7th, Chasen Shreve put two on base with a walk and a single and an out before Adam Warren was called on to finish the inning. Warren had an excellent outing himself, finishing the 7th and through the 8th inning, including 3 great strikeouts. Actually, the Yankee pitching staff was quite the strikeout champions today — a grand total of 12 to Toronto pitchers.
The lone Yankee offense was a 2-out solo home run in the 6th inning by Jacoby Ellsbury, a 2nd deck smash into the right field seats. The Yankees only racked up 4 hits and 1 walk, so including a hit-by-pitch to McCann (he’s fine) the Yankees only put 6 runners on base.
I can brag about the Yankees’ defense once again, as displayed very nicely by Chase Headley’s diving grab in the 4th and a sliding stop by Stephen Drew in the 5th. There are two reasons why the Yankees are still in first place in the AL East despite their slowed run production this month — their bullpen and their defense.
Final score from Toronto: 3-1 Toronto, Yankees win series 2-1.
And don’t worry, the Yankees are still in first place by a half-game over Toronto. Now, they head back to New York to face the Twins, the Indians, and the Astros for a 10-game home stand. Plus, starting Monday is HOPE Week.
It’s going to be a good week. I can feel it. Besides, “I’d rather be an optimist and a fool than a pessimist and right.” (A.E.)