The Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays 8-3 at the Rogers Centre on Monday. Chase Whitley‘s worst start of his career led to the third consecutive loss for the Yankees. Whitley, who had previously not allowed more than three runs in any of his seven starts, allowed eight earned runs in only 3.1 innings.
Whitley allowed 11 hits, three walks and one homer to the dangerous Blue Jays lineup. He had uncharacteristic control issues since he had only four walks in his previous seven starts. After an RBI single by Adam Lind in the first, the Blue Jays scored six more runs in the second inning. The most damage off of Whitley came off of a three-run homer by Lind in the second that scored Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera. Before Lind, Cabrera hit an RBI single that scored Munenori Kawasaki. Whitley’s ERA rose from 2.56 to 4.07
It was expected that Whitley, who had only made 12 starts in his time in the minors before he was called up to fill in for CC Sabathia, would regress at some point, but it didn’t seem like he would allow eight runs in a start. He was not able to locate his pitches like in his previous starts.
“It was frustrating because it took the team out of a chance to win,” Whitley said. “It was just a poor performance, you know move on from there, but I didn’t execute like I wanted to. I couldn’t command the ball at all, like I have in the past. I couldn’t execute the pitches that I wanted to throw, and they are a good hitting club. They showed it last time and they showed it this time. It is just something I’ve got to improve on.”
Whitley faced the Blue Jays in his last start and had a much better outcome. He only allowed two runs and five hits in five innings on June 18 at Yankee Stadium. This proves that the Blue Jays were able to adjust much better to him than he was to their offense.
Marcus Stroman, a rookie from Long Island, who pitched against the Yankees last week at Yankee Stadium, pitched much better and lasted much longer than he did in his start last week. Stroman only lasted 3.2 innings on June 17, but held the Yankees to only one run in eight innings on Monday. The only run that the Yankees scored off of Stroman was Mark Teixeira’s 411-foot homer to center.
The Yankees scored two runs off of Chad Jenkins in the ninth inning. Yangervis Solarte, who was hitless in his previous 27 at-bats after starting the year as one of the team’s best hitters, came in as a pinch hitter and hit a single that scored Francisco Cervelli.
Another positive is that the bullpen did not allow a run in 4.2 innings pitched. David Huff, in a role that he was successful in last season, threw 3.2 one-hit innings. Shawn Kelley came in to pitch the ninth and struck out three and had his second consecutive solid outing after he allowed two runs against the Blue Jays last week.
The offense, which has scored three runs or less in their previous three games (all losses), will look to bounce back against Tuesday’s starter, Mark Buehrle. He is off to an outstanding start to the season with a 2.32 ERA, but he has struggled in his career against the Yankees. He had a 4.78 ERA against the Bronx Bombers from the 2011 to the 2013 season. The Yankees, who are now 5-5 in their last 10 games, are 2.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays for first place.
David Phelps, who has won his last two games after allowing a combined two runs in those starts, will start his ninth game of the season. Tuesday’s middle game of the series will start at 7:07 p.m.
From the minors, first base/ right field / catcher prospect Peter O’Brien hit two homers in Monday’s game for the Trenton Thunder. Also, second base prospect Rob Refsnyder, who could get called up eventually to replace the struggling Brian Roberts, is hitting .311 in 45 at-bats since being promoted from Double-A Trenton.
After sweeping their three-game series against the first place Toronto Blue Jays and winning the first game of the series against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees (39-35) lost the last two games against the Orioles to lose the series and fall into a tie for second place with the Baltimore.
The Yankees offense, which scored five runs or more during their wins on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, combined to score only one run over the weekend. They scored one run in the 6-1 loss on Saturday in which Vidal Nuno allowed three homers and his fifth in his last two starts. On Sunday, Masahiro Tanaka’s three runs in seven innings led to his 15th consecutive quality start to begin his career, but the Yankees lost 8-0 as the offense only had four hits.
Goose Gossage, who is a Hall of Famer, was honored for his time with the Yankees with a plaque in Monument Park during Old-Timers’ Day before the Yankees played the Orioles on Sunday. In six seasons with the Yankees, from 1978-1983, he went 42-28 with a 2.14 ERA and 151 saves. “I played for nine different teams, and putting on the pinstripes was like the closest thing to an out-of-body experience I’ve ever had,” Gossage said. “Outside of the day my kids were born and going into Cooperstown, it doesn’t get any better than this. It’s awesome.”
Yankees legends Yogi Berra and Whitey Ford were at Yankee Stadium for Old-Timers’ Day, as well first-time Old-Timers Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon who helped the Yankees win their most recent World Series in 2009. However, their offense was not able to perform in front of them live up to their Bronx Bombers nickname as seven different players did not get a single hit.
Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury each had a hit and a walk, and Ichiro Suzuki had two hits to improve his average to .314, but Derek Jeter grounded into a double play with runners on first and second with one out in the third and the Yankees as a whole were 0-5 with runners in scoring position. It is hard to win games when the offense has four hits and doesn’t come through at all with runners in scoring position.
After hitting very well during his first month in the big leagues, Yangervis Solarte now does not have a hit in his last 27 at-bats and his average is now all the way down to .263. He led the team in many statistical categories including average and RBIs until the beginning of June. It seems like the Yankees should call up Rob Refsnyder from Triple-A Scranton if he continues to play well.
Adam Warren, who has been a strength this season in the bullpen along with Dellin Betances and David Robertson, had his worst outing of the season as he allowed four runs in the eighth inning. His ERA skyrocketed from 2.04 to 2.88 after allowing two singles and an intentional walk, followed by a three-run double by J.J. Hardy and an RBI single by Manny Machado. David Huff allowed the Baltimore’s eighth run by allowing Caleb Joseph’s first career homer.
The Yankees, who will start a three-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Monday, will look to continue play well against the team that they are chasing. They have played three games in Toronto and three in the Bronx so far this season, and the Yankees have won five out of their first six games against the Blue Jays. Long Island’s Marcus Stroman will be pitching against the Yankees after allowing two runs, three walks and four hits in 3.2 innings in his start against the Yankees on June 17.
Chase Whitley will try for his fourth consecutive win. He only allowed two runs and five hits in his win over the Blue Jays on June 18. He has 26 strikeouts and has remarkably only four walks in the 38.2 innings that he has pitched so far. Whitley, who was a relief pitcher for most of his professional career, has been better than the Yankees could have hoped for.
Monday’s game at the Rogers Centre will start at 7:07 p.m.
Masahiro Tanaka won his American League leading 11th game and lowered his ERA to an American League leading 1.99 in the 3-1 series- opening Yankees win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Tanaka allowed only one run and five hits while striking out 10 in six innings.
Tanaka is the 5th pitcher with five 10+ strikeout games in his first 14 starts. The others to do so were Hideo Nomo, Mark Prior, Tom Griffin and Doc Gooden. He has also thrown a quality start, which is throwing six or more innings while allowing three or fewer runs, in all of his 14 starts this season. The only other pitcher that had that streak of quality starts was Steve Rogers in 1973.
The win over the first place Blue Jays was the 14th straight home win by the Yankees over the Blue Jays. Joe Girardi was also able to win his 600th game as the manager of the Yankees, with the help of Tanaka, Brett Gardner and the bullpen. Gardner’s two-run homer (his 6th) to right in the third inning gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead that they would not lose.
Gardner was asked his thoughts on Girardi’s milestone after the game. “He has been great,” Gardner said. “He knows what it takes to get us ready for the game. He is fun to play for.”
The Yankees scored their first two runs off of Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman, who was making only his fourth start in the big leagues. He grew up in Medford on Long Island, which is about an hour from Yankee Stadium, so he was definitely nervous pitching for the first time at Yankee Stadium. In only 3.2 innings, he allowed four hits, including Gardner’s homer, and three walks to raise his pitch count all the way up to 98.
Later in the game, the Yankees scored an insurance run off of reliever Aaron Loup. Mark Teixeira’s liner up the middle easily scored Derek Jeter from third to make the score 3-1. That was Jeter’s 1,900th career run scored, which puts him in 10th place on the all-time list. Alex Rodriguez has scored 1,919 runs, which means that Jeter should be in ninth place by the end of the season.
Kelly Johnson, who is on a four-game hitting streak, had two hits in the game. Jeter was the other Yankee who had two hits. Gardner now has only two fewer homers than he hit all of last season.
Tanaka was able to strikeout the side swinging in the fifth inning, as he was able to rebound very well from allowing a homer by Jose Reyes to leadoff the game. Dellin Betances, who pitched a perfect seventh and eighth, had an impressive sequence where he froze the dangerous Jose Bautista with a curve for a strikeout and then his next pitch was a 99 MPH fastball to the cleanup hitter, Edwin Encarnacion. Even though he has been a reliever the whole season, Betances’s 68 strikeouts are second on the team and 27th in the AL.
David Robertson was able record his 17th save of the season after allowing one hit and two strikeouts. He is tied for third in the AL in saves, and Robertson has struck out 42 of the 87 batters he has faced since coming off of the disabled list.
“I don’t think it’s fair to expect that from anyone,” Girardi said. “Tanaka has been remarkable and he has been a huge part of our success. He continues to grind out starts and give us distance. He fielded his position well, which helped him too.”
With the win the Yankees are now 3.5 games behind the Blue Jays, and Chase Whitley will try to get their deficit to 2.5 games as he will get the start in the second game of the series that starts at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday. Whitley is coming off his best outing of the season as he allowed two runs, didn’t allow a walk for his fourth consecutive start and pitched 7.2 innings for the first time. He has 24 strikeouts and only three walks in 33.2 innings since replacing the injured CC Sabathia.
The Yankees (35-33) are now in sole possession of second place in the America League East after the Baltimore Orioles lost 5-4 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. The Bronx Bombers are 4.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays, who they play starting tonight, and to get closer to first place they will have to play well in their upcoming nine games against the teams at the top of the division.
Overall, they play their next 15 games against division opponents, but their next nine include three against the Blue Jays at home, three against the Orioles at home and then three games in Toronto. They play the Boston Red Sox and then the Rays at the end of the stretch of division games, but they are fourth and fifth in the division, respectively, which makes the games against Toronto and Baltimore more important.
In April, the Yankees won two out of their three games that they played against the Blue Jays, but the Blue Jays went onto win seven of their next 11 games to set the tone for their surprising start to the season where they have been the best team in the AL East. They also played very well in the second half of May as they won 13 16 games to end the month. Toronto lost six of their last nine games, but they still have the best offense in baseball (top five in six categories) and a pitching staff that has done better than they were expected to.
Also in April, the Yankees lost two of the three games that they played against the Orioles. Ivan Nova allowed seven earned runs in the 14-5 loss that they had in the series. Nova would only make two more starts before having to miss the rest of the season due to Tommy John surgery. Vidal Nuno, who has a 5.90 ERA, replaced Nova in the rotation, and he is next scheduled to pitch in the series against the Orioles.
The Orioles (35-34) have the fourth best batting average in all of baseball and have hit the fifth most homers (75). However, Matt Wieters, who is their All-Star catcher who had hit five homers so far, will miss the rest of the season because of Tommy John surgery. He is one player that the Orioles will miss, but their lineup is deep with J.J. Hardy, Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, Chris Davis, Manny Machando and Nick Markakis.
The Yankees are coming into this important stretch of games in June with a number of players hitting well including Jacoby Ellsbury and Derek Jeter. Ellsbury was 0-7 in the two losses to Oakland, but he had a 17-game hitting streak that went from May 26-June 13. His average was .258 before the hitting steak and it is now .282, and he has 30 RBIs, 18 steals and 33 runs on the season.
Jeter comes into the series with a hit in eight of his past 10 games and has a multi-hit game in four of his past six games. His average was .254 on June 8 is now a more respectable .271. Jeter and Ellsbury are important hitters in the two and three spot in the lineup before Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. Teixeira leads the team in homers and RBIs and Beltran, even though he has a .171 average since coming off the DL, is an important power threat.
The missing link in the lineup so far this season has been McCann. He has a .274 career average and has hit 20 or more homers in each of his past six seasons, but he only has a .224 average and seven homers so far this season. He is struggling equally at home as on the road as he has a .223 average at Yankee Stadium and a .224 average on the road. McCann had played in the National League his whole career, which makes it seem like he is having a hard time adjusting to playing with the Yankees and in the American League.
McCann is due to improve his performance especially at Yankees Stadium based on how much success he has had in his career and how his swing is built for the dimensions at Yankee Stadium.
Toronto starters have pitched well this season, but they are not as good as the starters that the Yankees faced in Oakland. Winning two out of three is realistic at Rogers Centre. Masahiro Tanaka, who is 10-1 as a rookie, will start Wednesday night for the Yankees and Marcus Stroman, the rookie from Long Island, will get the start for the Blue Jays. If they can win six of their next nine games that would help push them closer to first and give the team needed momentum.