The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays, 3-1, in the series finale at Rogers Centre. They are half a game ahead of the Blue Jays as a result of winning the previous two games in the series.
Luis Severino had his third quality start in a row to begin his career and could have had a better line if not for Carlos Beltran’s miscue. He allowed three earned runs on five hits and three walks in six innings while recording nine strikeouts. All of the runs that the Blue Jays scored came in the third inning.
Severino, who has a very good 3.18 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP in his first three starts, retired Kevin Pillar and Ben Revere to start the third but Troy Tulowitzki hit a high fly ball that Beltran lost in the sun. Tulowitzki fly ball, which was originally ruled an error, was a double because Beltran was trying to defend himself against the sun and didn’t know where the ball was at the end. If Beltran wouldn’t have lost the ball in the sun then Severino might have pitched more than six innings and not allowed any runs.
“That’s as good of an arm as we’ve seen all year,” Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. “Good quick arm, and he’s a strike-thrower.”
After Beltran couldn’t see Tulowitzki’s fly ball, MVP candidate Josh Donaldson hit a single to score Tulowitzki and then Jose Bautista blasted a two-run homer to center. Severino knew after he released the pitch that it was not where he wanted it. “I knew right away it was high and would be a problem,” Severino said after the game.
“I think I’m doing pretty good and I’m working hard so I can do better,” Severino said.
The only run that the Yankees scored was a home run by Jacoby Ellsbury to the second deck above the Pizza Nova sign in right field in the sixth inning. The Yankees only had four hits during the game and Brian McCann’s double was their only extra-base hit besides Ellsbury’s homer. They struggled against Blue Jays starter Drew Hutchison, and Beltran, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius and Stephen Drew combined to go 0-12.
However, the offense was better than the previous three games and the Yankees did exactly what they needed to do in winning the series against Toronto.
Severino allowed the three runs in the third on two hanging sliders. “Outstanding job by him,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought he pitched really well. I thought he gave us a great chance to win the game. It is impressive to watch what he has done. He does a good job in Cleveland after a three-game losing streak. He has rose to the occasion.”
The 21-year-old Severino still had not lost any of his velocity in the sixth inning as he struck out Justin Smoak on a 98 mph fastball for the second out of the frame. Also, eight of Severino’s strikeouts were on fastballs, which is impressive since the Blue Jays strength as a team is hitting the fastball. The reason that Severino has not picked up a win in any of his three starts is that the Yankees have scored a total of two runs in the 17 innings that he has thrown.
Girardi realized after the game that sometimes an offense will flat out not perform against another team’s pitcher.
“It’s baseball,” Girardi said. “We pitched really well, we were just not able to come up with enough runs. I thought we did a good job winning a tough series on the road.” The Yankees (64-52) are now 32-31 on the road and 32-21 at Yankee Stadium. They will start a 10-game homestand on Monday, which is what they want since they play much better at home.
A sweep was what the Yankees wanted, but they bounced back well after being swept by the Blue Jays last weekend, and it appears the race to win the division will be tight the rest of the season. The Yankees will play a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins, who have a 59-58 record and are in second place in the AL Central, and the Blue Jays have a day off before a two-game set against the Philadelphia Phillies, who have the worst record in baseball.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who has been on the disabled list since May 20 with a right knee strain, will return to the roster on Wednesday. It is important that he is returning from the DL because Carlos Beltran, who been productive offensively since the beginning of May, is on the 15-day disabled list as of July 3 due to a left oblique strain.
He played in four games for High-A Tampa (Florida State League) during his minor league rehab stint and had a .154 average in 13 at-bats. His health is more important than his average in Florida and the minor league games are for getting him back in playing shape.
He was supposed to play in another game for High-A Tampa on Monday, but he was held out of the game due to “wet fields” in Tampa. This makes sense because those conditions could potentially cause a setback.
“We scratched him because the fields were wet,’’ GM Brian Cashman said of the playing surface Monday in Tampa, where Ellsbury was on a rehab assignment with the Single-A club. “He did some simulated stuff [Monday] and will do it again Tuesday and be activated Wednesday.’’
In 37 games (148 at-bats) before going on the disabled list, Ellsbury had a .324 average with six RBIs, four doubles, 29 runs scored and 14 steals. He is currently tied for fifth in the American League in steals even though he has not played in the previous 42 games.
Ellsbury, who will likely return to the leadoff spot, will make the top of the lineup even better because he will combine with Brett Gardner, who will bat in the No. 2 spot and is having an All-Star caliber season, to add a player who gets on base often and can easily get into scoring position with his speed. With Beltran on the disabled list, the outfield will consist of Ellsbury, Gardner and Chris Young.
Ellsbury will be activated for the second game of the series at Yankee Stadium against the Oakland Athletics, who are currently 38-47 and 11 games out of first place in the AL West. The Yankees (44-38) and Athletics will play the first game of the series tonight at 7:05 p.m.
Jacoby Ellsbury was placed on the 15-day disabled list after Tuesday’s game with a sprained right knee after he was injured in the fourth inning. Slade Heathcott, who has a .285 average with one homer and 17 RBIs this season with the RailRiders, has been called up from Triple-A to replace Ellsbury. Heathcott is a former top prospect who is just starting to get back on track.
Joe Girardi said that Ellsbury hurt himself while he was swinging in the fourth inning. Ellsbury has a fairly extensive injury history dating back to his days with the Boston Red Sox. In 2010 he was only able to play in 18 games and in 2012 he was only able to play in 74 games. The Yankees need Ellsbury to be back soon since he has been an important contributor to their offense. Ideally, he will be out no more than 15 days.
So far this season Ellsbury is hitting .324 with 29 runs scored, six RBIs, 14 steals and a .412 on-base percentage. He has played very well along with Brett Gardner at the top of the lineup. The Yankees manager is not sure how long the leadoff hitter will be out of the lineup.
Chris Young, who has a .264 average with six homers and 13 RBIs, will likely play center field in place of Ellsbury. Heathcott will now be the back-up outfielder
The Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers, 8-4, on Wednesday as a result of an eight-run outburst in the third inning against former Cy Young winner David Price. With the win in the second game of the series the Yankees are now 2.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second wild-card and six games behind the Baltimore Orioles for first place in the AL East.
In 13 starts against the Yankees from 2011 to 2013 while pitching for the Tampa Bay Rays David Price, who won the Cy Young in 2012, had a 3.81 ERA. The Yankees have hit well against him in his career, but their performance against Price on Wednesday is hardly ever seen against any pitcher in Major League Baseball. After getting three hits in the first two innings, the Yankees went onto record nine consecutive hits off of Price in the third to force him out of the game.
Price did not record an out and all eight runs were charged to him. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the inning with a single, Derek Jeter’s 539th double of his career that drove in Jacoby Ellsbury tied him for 35th on the all-time doubles list, Martin Prado singled to left, Mark Teixeira drove Jeter in on his double to right, Prado scored on Beltran’s single to right, Teixeira scored on Brian McCann’s single to center, Chase Headley singled to left for, Brett Gardner’s infield single scored Beltran and then Franciso Cervelli’s single to left sent McCann home for the team’s ninth hit in a row.
Against reliever Blaine Hardy, Ellsbury and Jeter hit a sacrifice fly in consecutive at-bats to make the score 8-0. Here is video of the nine consecutive hits. David Price, who has had many more dominating starts than not in his career, made a point of saying that he is human and would try to move past this performance. “That is probably the worst game I have had in my life,” Price said.
Ellsbury has been in the leadoff spot the last three games instead of his usual three spot in the lineup and has raised his average from .277 to .285. In the last three games he has gone 8-13 (.615), scored five runs, driven in five runs, stolen two bases and hit three homers. The Yankees need Ellsbury to give this kind of production and hitting first in the lineup might be a reason for it. He is hitting leadoff again on Thursday.
“It is tough to get that many hits even if guys hit the balls on the screws,” Ellsbury said. “Fortunately, some balls fell for us. (Price) has tremendous stuff, I have a lot of respect for him. Obviously this was a big game for us. We didn’t score the rest of the game, but I thought we continued to put quality at-bats together.”
Jeter was 1-3 with two RBIs and on August 28 in 2011 he passed Mickey Mantle for 1st on the all-tim Yankees games played list.
Shane Greene is only a rookie but he was the one who pitched like the former Cy Young. He pitched seven strong innings while striking out eight and only allowing two runs. He allowed an RBI double to left by Miguel Cabrera and a solo homer to Victor Martinez. His slider was his best pitch on Wednesday and he knew early on that it was effective. Greene struck out the last better he faced, Torii Hunter, on a high fastball.
“I hope it (slider) is good for me every time, but Cervelli will let me know if it’s not or if it is, just stay with him, but probably about the second I could tell I had a good slider,” Greene said. “I got to give the credit to Cervelli. I am following his lead for the most part. Like I said before, he knows these guys way better than me.” Greene has now pitched six innings or more while allowing two runs or less in three of his last four starts.
Dellin Betances pitched the ninth inning and allowed a run on two hits. He had not allowed a run in eight of his previous nine appearances.
The Yankees will play a matinee game on Thursday at 1:08 p.m. at Comerica Park as they try to win the series. Hiroki Kuroda will pitch for the Yankees and rookie Kyle Lobstein will get the start in place of Justin Verlander. Lobstein is making his first Major League start. The Tigers are also the only Major League team that Kuroda has not defeated.
Only five hits combined with five errors led to the 4-2 loss by the Yankees to the Texas Rangers to begin the series. Shane Greene became the first Yankees pitcher since Tommy John to record three errors in a game, but his three errors in the first four innings didn’t directly lead to a run.
Shane Greene pitched well overall in his first Yankee Stadium start and his four earned runs in 5.2 innings is deceiving. He would have been able to pitch deeper into the game if he didn’t make two throwing errors and one fielding error. This throwing error to first is one of the worst throws to first by a pitcher of all time. Greene was able to strikeout five, only allow one walk and get himself out of trouble in the second, third and fourth innings. Brian Roberts’s error in the third inning proved to be costly because it led to Shin-Soo Chu scoring the first run for the Rangers.
Greene left the game with the score tied at two, with two outs and runners on first and second. Matt Thornton, who had been pitching better the past few weeks, came into the game and allowed both of his inherited runners to score. Geovany Soto singled to left to score Jake Smolinski, and Rougned Odor singled to left to score Jim Aducci. If Thornton would have gotten Soto out then Greene would have had a very respectable line of two earned runs and five strikeouts.
“They didn’t really square up a lot of balls,” Joe Girardi said. “I thought Greene threw the ball well.” Girardi defended his decision to bring in Thornton because he was facing a lefty. “That’s our guy against lefties. That’s why he was in there.” According to Pete Caldera, had 12 errors in 112 total chances (.893 fielding %) in the minors, which proves that fielding his position is something he needs to concentrate on.
The Yankees were only able to score two runs in 7.1 innings against Miles Mikolas, who had a 10.05 ERA coming into the game. The Yankees were not able to capitalize on facing a struggling pitcher and a team that was in last place, 21-29 on the road and had lost 14 of their past 16 games.
Jacoby Ellsbury was the only positive offensively for the Yankees. He hit a solo homer to right to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the fourth. His infield single in the first inning sent Jeter to third. The Yankees were set up to score a few runs in the inning but Carlos Beltran hit a sacrifice fly to score Jeter and Kelly Johnson flied out to right. Ellsbury has two homers, four RBIs and is 8/16 (.500) since the All-Star break to improve his average from .282 to .291.
However, besides Ellsbury the Yankees combined for three hits and zero extra-base hits. Derek Jeter grounded into a costly double-play with the bases loaded to end the fifth inning. The Yankees offense that had showed positive signs against the Reds got worse as the game progressed. Mikolas, who was only making his fourth start after previously pitching 34 innings as a relief pitcher between 2012 and 2013, retired the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings.
With the loss combined with a Baltimore Orioles win the Yankees are now four games out of first place in the AL East. They are also now 2.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners for the second Wild Card spot. They will need to take advantage of playing nine of their next 12 games against teams that are under .500.
Two struggling pitching will start Tuesday night’s game. It will be Chase Whitley, who allowed three runs in 3.2 innings in his last start, against Nick Martinez, who allowed six earned runs in five innings in his start on July 1. There are not many MLB pitchers who went to Fordham like Martinez.