The Yankees were looking to grab the series finale from the visiting Blue Jays in today’s rubber match. The Blue Jays reminded the Yankees why they’ve been leading the AL East, and why the Yankees, well, haven’t.
And while CC Sabathia certainly didn’t have the cleanest outing, it was still a pretty good one. Girardi agreed with that assessment in his post-game interview, noting that it’s rather unfair how ERA is tabulated because to charge Sabathia for all the runs is to discount all the defense failed to do to back him up. It’s a team effort, which means that the team should get credit for the successes or failures, especially when it’s not just a strikeout or something that actually is simply between the pitcher and his catcher.
Anyway, Sabathia got the start and threw 98 pitches through his 6 innings. He gave up 9 hits and a walk, was credited with all 7 of Toronto’s runs, all while still striking out 12 batters. (Yes, you read that right — 12!) In the 2nd, the Blue Jays scored first. With 1 out and 2 runners on base with a single and that lone walk, a double scored the first run, and then another double scored 2 more runs to give the Jays an early 3-0 lead.
Sabathia was cruising through the rest of his outing until the 5th. He gave up a lead-off single. The next batter hit a slow grounder to 3rd, which Headley was too slow to get to and throw to 1st, so both runners were safe at 1st and 2nd. The next batter hit again to Headley, who stepped on the bag for the first out and attempted to get a double play at 1st, but threw far above Austin’s head. The runners ended up in scoring position on the error. Another single scored the lead runner, before a 2-out 3-run home run jumped the Blue Jays far ahead of the Yankees.
After Sabathia’s clean 6th inning, he was done for the afternoon. The Yankees sent in recently recalled Kirby Yates who kept the Blue Jays scoreless in the 7th. Tommy Layne’s 8th inning was a nearly perfect 14 pitches, and Anthony Swarzak redeemed himself some after yesterday’s mess with a 16 pitch scoreless 9th inning.
The Yankees weren’t exactly quiet offensively, but they couldn’t make the offense cobble together more than a handful of runs scattered through the game in comparison. And oddly only in the even-numbered innings. Gary Sanchez led-off the 2nd inning with a big solo home run straight up the middle of the field to the netting above Monument Park.
Starlin Castro then followed suit with a solo shot into the left field corner seats to lead off the 4th inning. Chase Headley’s 6th inning 1-out home run into the left field bleachers closed the gap some. And in the 8th, with 1 out and Headley on base with a single, the Blue Jays finally pulled their starter. An out and a single later, Aaron Judge’s single scored the final Yankees’ run of the afternoon.
Final score: 7-4 Blue Jays, Blue Jays win series 2-1.
The Blue Jays’ closer got his 27th save of the season today. That number got me thinking and researching something. Even with the changes made to the roster, and the loss of both Miller and Chapman, the Yankees have actually had more recorded saves than the Blue Jays (36 to Toronto’s 34), but the Blue Jays have had more save opportunities (47 to the Yankees’ 45). This means that the Blue Jays have actually blown more saves than the Yankees overall.
Another fun fact: the Yankees pitchers currently lead the AL in strikeouts (1,059), coming in 3rd in the league (behind the Dodgers and Nationals). Thanks in part to the kind of outings like Sabathia threw tonight. No, I’m still no over 12!
Scranton Shuttle: The Yankees optioned Chasen Shreve back to AAA Scranton before the game today and recalled reliever Kirby Yates, who contributed much to today’s game.
Baby Bomber Gary Sanchez joins some rather illustrious company with his recent show of power. His homer in the 4th inning was his 5th in his last 4 games, which made him the 3rd Yankee ever to hit 5 home runs in their first 15 games. (The other two were Steve Whitaker in 1966 and Shelley Duncan in 2007.)