On Thursday night at the Rogers Centre, the Yankees (80-73) lost a game to the Blue Jays that they absolutely needed to win. They lost 6-2 and Joe Girardi, Joba Chamberlain and the offense are to blame. It was their second loss in three games in Toronto.
The Yankees are now 3.5 games out of the wild-card with nine to play, but before this series and the one against the Red Sox from September 13-15, they were only one game out of the second wild-card. They have gone 1-5 in their last six games, including the sweep in Boston, and this past week has effectively ended their chance of making the playoffs. During the past six games, they have not pitched or hit well as they have allowed five or more runs four times and scored three or fewer runs four times.
The Yankees should have been able to rebound from the series in Fenway by sweeping the Blue Jays, but they obviously did not have it in them to win three straight against a last place team not playing for anything. On Tuesday, in the game that they lost 2-0, knuckleballer R.A. Dickey threw seven shutout innings against the Yankees offense. However, the truly inexcusable game was the one earlier tonight.
Hiroki Kuroda, who allowed three runs, including a bumpy third where he gave up three hits, two walks and two runs, can’t be blamed because he kept the team in the game by recording seven strikeouts. However, the offense should have been able to score more than two runs off of a decent rookie starter in Todd Redmond and the Blue Jays bullpen.
They only runs that they scored were a homer in the sixth inning that went above the bullpen by Curtis Granderson (his seventh of the season) and a ground out to second by Vernon Wells with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. It appeared that they would score a few runs in the ninth to make it interesting but Wells grounded out and Lyle Overbay weakly grounded out to first.
Robinson Cano gave the team a scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth after hitting a ground rule double with one out. However, he was stranded at second since Alfonso Soriano and Wells struck out and popped out, respectively. Soriano would have been safe at second with a double in the second inning if he would have been running hard the whole time. On Tuesday, Soriano was the one who said that the Yankees needed to have more energy.
The move that truly made no sense was bringing in Joba Chamberlain in the bottom of the seventh. The Yankees were only losing 3-1 at the time, and Chamberlain should not be brought into any games that are within four runs. He has been that unreliable this season. Giaradi could have left Kuroda in or brought in Shawn Kelly, David Phelps or Casar Cabral, but decided to bring in Chamberlain even though he had allowed runs in three of his previous five outings.
True to form, Chamberlain only faced three hitters and allowed a walk, a single and then a three-run homer to the dangerous Adam Lind for his 22nd of the season. It doesn’t make any sense that Girardi has continued to have confidence in Joba.
The Yankees have been essentially eliminated from the postseason while still having a mathematical chance of making it. They will have to win the rest of their nine games and then receive help from other teams.
They start their six-game home stand with three games against the San Francisco Giants, who are nine games below .500, but are 7-3 in their last 10 games. After the series against the Giants, they play three at home against Tampa and then conclude the season in Houston.