Well, that’s how this game works. It just takes a couple of perfectly placed, perfectly hit balls to change the course of this game. As the Yankees finish up their first division rival series of the season in Toronto, the Yankees were just a couple of home runs away from winning this series. Alas, it was not to be.
Before the largest of the three crowds at Rogers Centre tonight, the Yankees sped through tonight’s game (just 2 hours and 22 minutes) behind Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi threw 98 pitches tonight in just shy of 7 innings, giving up 7 hits, 2 walks, and 4 runs, and striking out 8 batters (“Nasty Nate” style). Actually, he was coasting through “Nasty Nate” right up until the 5th inning. With 2 outs and 2 runners on base, last year’s MVP smacked a giant 3-run home run to the 2nd deck sitting over the center field fence to give the Blue Jays the lead. A 1-out home run in the 6th added one more for Toronto.
And approaching 100 pitches, the Yankees opted to open their bullpen and call on Johnny Barbato, who continues to prove how amazing the choices coming out of Spring seem to be for the Yankees. Over his 1.1 innings, Barbato took 23 pitches and stalled the Blue Jays from adding to their lead, adding 2 nice strikeouts of his own to the Yankees’ total.
And I cannot forget to mention what a rock star Brett Gardner was in left field tonight. He made 2 outstanding catches — one diving into the stands (a la Jeter) in the 3rd and one sliding across the grass (a la Gardner) in the 5th.
On the flip side of the diamond, the Yankees were also stymied by the Blue Jays starter for the first part of the game. In the 4th, they broke through by loading up the bases with a hit-by-pitch and 2 singles. Carlos Beltran grounded into a force out at 2nd scored Rodriguez, which should have been a double play but for some reason Beltran became Gardner and picked up speed to make it to 1st before the ball. A walk then loaded the bases again. And it was a little wild pitch that scored the additional run for the Yankees before the starter shut the Yankees’ bats down.
It would really be the only allowance for the Yankees’ advance all night. Let’s be honest, the Blue Jays’ pitching staff tonight (all 2 of them) was very good. They kept the Yankees to just 3 hits and 2 walks, and struck out just 3 Yankees’ batters (all by the starter over 8 innings). After the Yankees’ little breakthrough blip, the Blue Jays’ starter just plowed right on through and effectively shut down the Yankees’ offense in one fell swoop. And at the end of the day, that’s what won the day for the Blue Jays.
Final score: 4-2 Blue Jays, Blue Jays win the series 2-1.
And since we clearly need some good news, the Yankees have filled some of the off-time with some rather humorous videos during Spring Training, a peak at the behind-the-scenes in Yankees Universe. Andrew Miller moonlights as the clubhouse security guard (outtakes), Brian McCann chills at the water cooler and “bros” it out (outtakes), and Chase Headley “glows” on the basketball court (outtakes). Enjoy!