The Yankees beat the Toronto Blue Jays in a nail bitter of a game, 2-0, and were remarkably able to sweep the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays, who were in first place when the series started, are now a game behind the Red Sox in the AL East. The Yankees are now 4.5 games out of first place in the AL East and 2.5 games out of the second wild card spot.
The Bronx Bombers got just enough on offense to finish off the sweep of their rivals to the north. Toronto has the deeper lineup, but the Yankees were able to out hit them nine to five. The nine hits would have led to more runs if they were better than one for six with runners in scoring position.
Starlin Castro hit a homer over the State Farm scoreboard in left field in the third inning against Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead. Castro now has 20 homers and he is only the fourth Yankee second baseman in franchise history with 20 or more homers in a season. The others were Robinson Cano (from 2009-2013), Alfonso Soriano (2002-2003) and Joe Gordon (1938-1941).
Later in the third, Brian McCann singled to right to score Didi Gregorius. McCann, who has become the regular DH with the emergence of Gary Sanchez, has three hits in his last 12 at-bats (.250) with a homer and two RBI. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury both had two hits.
Bryan Mitchell was stellar in his first start this season for the Yankees. He missed the first five months of the campaign after suffering a fractured sesamoid bone and Grade 3 turf toe during a spring training game against the Braves on March 30. He would need surgery the next week. He would have been an important part of the pitching staff if not for the freak injury and he appears ready to be fulfill that potential down the stretch.
Mitchell pitched five innings while not allowing a run, giving up only four hits, two walks and striking out two. He threw 49 of his 80 pitches for strikes and was able to get Edwin Encarnacion to hit into a double play in the first and got Devon Travis to hit into a double play in the third inning.
“After the whole season, what I went through, tonight’s very rewarding,” Mitchell said. “It’s been my goal all year to get back here.”
Luis Severino, who has been virtually un-hittable as a reliever this season, pitched the sixth through eighth innings while allowing a hit, a walk and striking out three. Severino has faced 50 batters as a relief pitcher and has only allowed two hits. Also, in 14.1 innings pitching out of the bullpen this season, he has not allowed an earned run and has 16 strikeouts and six walks. They likely would not have gotten the win without his three dominant innings as Dellin Betances and Adam Warren were both not available.
To close out the game, Tyler Clippard picked up his first save of the season while not allowing a hit and striking out two. The former Yankee was a starter for the team in his rookie season in 2007 and was reacquired from the Diamondbacks before the trade deadline. He has a 0.56 ERA as the run the Mets scored off of him on August 3 was the only earned run he has allowed in his 16 innings with the Yankees. He has been a valuable trade deadline acquisition after the trades of Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman.
The Yankees are 65-51 since May 1, which is the fifth best record in the American League. The only teams with better records since then are the Blue Jays (66-48), Astros (67-48), Indians (70-47) and Rangers (69-46). They are also 21-13 since the trade deadline.
“We’ll get there (the postseason) if we continue playing the way we’re playing. If we continue to win series…we’ll be all right,” Castro said.
The Yankees begin a four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night. It’s important that the Yankees sweep the 59-79 Rays to have a chance at a playoff spot because their schedule will be more challenging after Sunday’s game.
During a matinee game on Labor Day, the Yankees got a big 5-3 win over the first place Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. They have now won two games in a row and they started off the home stand playing well as Monday’s game was the first of 10 consecutive games in the Bronx. After two more games against the Blue Jays the Yankees will play the Tampa Bay Rays and then the Los Angeles Dodgers.
To the surprise of many around the league as of now and after the Yankees traded away Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran before the trade deadline, the Yankees are still very much in contention for the second wild card spot. The Yankees are now 71-65 and 5.5 games behind the Blue Jays for first place in the AL East. Yesterday’s win allowed them to keep pace with the teams ahead of them in the wild card race because they all won their previous game.
The Bronx Bombers are 3.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers for the second wild card spot and 1.5 games behind the Houston Astros. After this series against the Blue Jays, the Yankees will still play Toronto four more times and will closeout out with three games against the Orioles. If the Yankees can play in September slightly better than the did in August when they were 17-11 then that series against the Orioles could be very important.
Masahiro Tanaka didn’t have his best command of his pitches but but was still able to limit the Blue Jays to only two runs in 6.1 innings. This was his fourth consecutive start that he has allowed two runs or less, which proves how dominant he has been recently. He struggled as his pitches were not on par compared to recent starts as he allowed seven hits and three walks, after not walking more than one since July 27.
“I felt like I was all over the place,” Tanaka said through his translator.
However, Tanaka was able to step up and make quality pitches when he needed to since the Blue Jays were 2-9 with runners in scoring position (RISP) against him. The two hits the Blue Jays had with RISP came in the first inning but Tanaka held Toronto to only one run in the first. Tanaka was taken out of the game after walking Ezequiel Carrera and then allowing Dioner Navarro to fly out to Aaron Judge in right, who made a great catch at the top of the wall.
The bullpen wasn’t very effective in the seventh as Jonathan Holder allowed two straight walks with two outs and then Edwin Encarnacion hit a 2 RBI single off of Ben Heller to make the score 5-3, which is how the inning would end (and would be the final score).
Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances, who are the two most reliable members of the bullpen, pitched the eighth and ninth innings and did not allow a hit or walk while striking out a combined three batters.
R.A. Dickey, who only allowed one run in five innings in his previous start against the Yankees on August 15, did not have the same command of his knuckleball as the Yankees scored five runs on seven hits in four innings against him.
Jacoby Ellsbury gave the momentum back to the Yankees in the first inning as he hit a two-run homer to right for his 7th homer of the season. His single to right in the third inning that scored rookie Tyler Austin made the score 3-1 and was his second of three hits during the game. Ellsbury has played well in his last six games as he is 9-23 (.391) with one double, one homer, two runs scored and six RBI.
In the fourth inning, Austin gave the Yankees all the runs that they would need for the win with his double to deep left that scored Starlin Castro and Austin Romine. Tyler Austin only has a .205 average in 44 at-bats since being called up with Judge in the beginning of August, but in 17 at-bats at Yankee Stadium he has a solid .294 average (5-17) with one homer, two runs scored, two doubles and three RBI.
Judge is the rookie out of the two who has struggled a little more offensively. He had been the higher rated prospect of the two but has had trouble making adjustments and avoiding the strikeout. Judge’s average is only .169 and he struck out in all three of his plate appearances on Monday.
Judge, who is 6-7 and 275 pounds, has struck out in an alarming 35 of his 65 at-bats this season, which is more than half of his at-bats. He got off to a bang with a home run in his first major league at-bat but has struggled since then. However, the Yankees have been able to win without offensive production from Judge and it does take some rookies longer to make the adjustment from Triple-A pitching. He has played a very good right field as he has been able to make catches going back to the wall as well as diving for shallow line drives.
Rookie Luis Cessa will get the start for the Yankees and Aaron Sanchez will get the start for the Blue Jays in the middle game of the series on Tuesday night. Cessa has given up three runs in six innings in each of his last two starts and Sanchez leads the league American League with his 2.88 ERA.
The Yankees, who lost two out of three games in their series at the Rogers Centre to the Blue Jays, will start a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox at Yankee Stadium on Thursday night. Losing the series to the Blue Jays gave the Yankees a 3.5-game deficit in the AL East with 11 games left, which means that their chance of winning the division is highly unlikely. (The Yankees would have to get help from Toronto and would have to win about eight of their games.)
The Yankees (83-68) currently have a 4-game lead for the first wild card spot, which means they are on track to hosting the Houston Astros, the Minnesota Twins or the Anaheim Angels in a one-game playoff for the right to play in the ALDS. Houston is currently the second wild card with an 80-73 record, the Minnesota Twins are one-game behind the Astros and the Anaheim Angels are 1.5 games behind the Astros.
The best matchup for the Yankees would be if they end up playing the Twins in the wild card game. The Twins No. 1 starter is not nearly as good as the No. 1 starters on the Angels or Astros, and the Yankees had a lot of success when playing against Minnesota. However, the Yankees need to win three or four games during this upcoming series against Chicago to keep their slim chance of winning the AL East alive.
In tonight’s game, hyped prospect Rob Refsnyder will get his first start since he went 0-3 against the Mariners on July 18. He was sent back down to Triple-A Scranton after that game and before tonight’s game has only had two at-bats this month. Refsnyder will try to live up to the offensive success he has had in the minor leagues the last few years, but he will be getting a challenging matchup tonight as he will be facing Chris Sale, who is one of the best pitchers in the American League.
Back-up catcher John Ryan Murphy will get the start for Brian McCann, Chris Young will get the start in left field because Sale is a lefty and Young has performed very well against lefties this season, Brendan Ryan will get the start at shortstop for Didi Gregorius and Dustin Ackley will get the start at first. Greg Bird, who is on an 8-game hitting streak, has started at first in the last nine games. Gregorius has started every game at shortstop since July 25, when Ryan got the start at short.
Michael Pineda, who will start tonight’s game, allowed zero runs and struck out four in 5.1 innings in his last start against the Mets. That was his third time this season that he hasn’t allowed a run and his first since July 4 against the Rays. He bounced back well since he had given up four runs in each of his last two starts before that start against the Mets.
Pineda is a very effective pitcher when he throws his slider where he wants it to go and the Yankees need him to locate that pitch tonight. Here are the pitching matchups for the series against the White Sox:
RHP Michael Pineda (11-8, 4.10)
LHP Chris Sale (12-10, 3.47)
7:05 p.m. YES Network and MLB Network
LHP CC Sabathia (5-9, 4.80)
LHP Carlos Rodon (8-6, 3.78)
7:05 p.m., YES Network
RHP Adam Warren (6-7, 3.46)
LHP John Danks (7-13, 4.59)
4:05 p.m., WPIX
RHP Luis Severino (4-3, 3.10)
RHP Jeff Samardzija (10-13, 5.04)
1:05 p.m., YES Network
The news on Mark Teixeira is much worse than originally thought. It was announced today that what was initially a deep bone bruise is now a broken right leg. He will not return during the regular season or the postseason. The recovery time will be three months.
“With the way he’s been throughout this process, it’s clearly no surprise,” general manager Brian Cashman said. “It just makes sense why he ran down the first-base line the way he did; why he couldn’t do anything beyond walking.” Since Teixeira fouled a ball off his leg on August 17, the Yankees have gone 12-9.
The Yankees have missed his Gold Glove caliber defense at first base and the impressive power numbers that he has displayed this season. He has 31 homers, 79 RBIs, a 3.4 Offensive WAR, a .548 slugging percentage and a .906 OPS. His 31 homers, 3.5 Offensive WAR, .548 slugging percentage and .906 OPS are all best on the team.
Greg Bird, who was thought to be the temporary first baseman until today, will now know that he will be the everyday first baseman for the rest of the season and in the playoffs. He has performed well at the plate and if you prorate his power numbers for a full season they would be similar to Teixeira’s, but he is still a rookie. However, his defense is not nearly on the level that Teixeira’s is because he does not know when to get a grounder and when to leave it for the second baseman.
Bird, who is a 22-year-old rookie that was called up from Triple-A on August 13, has played in 25 games and has five homers, three doubles, 15 runs scored and 17 RBIs. He will have to continue to handle the pressure of playing games that matter the rest of the season, including in this weekend’s series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
The series that the Yankees play this weekend is their biggest one since the 2012 season, which is when they last made the playoffs. As of before Friday night’s game, the Yankees are 1.5 games behind the first place Blue Jays in the American League East. These four games will go a long way towards determining who wins the division. The Yankees need to win two or more games to ensure that it will be a race the rest of the season.
The Yankees and Blue Jays have both gone 6-4 in their last 10 games, but the Yankees missed an opportunity to gain ground since they lost the last two games of their series to the Orioles and Blue Jays lost their last game of their series to the Red Sox.
The Yankees will play a doubleheader on Saturday since Thursday night’s game was rained out. Here are the pitching matchups for this pivotal series:
Luis Severino (3-2, 2.04 ERA in seven starts)
David Price (14-5, 2.43 ERA)
Saturday Game One
Michael Pineda (10-8, 4.15 ERA)
Marco Estrada (12-8, 3.18 ERA)
Saturday Game Two
Ivan Nova (6-7, 4.50 ERA)
Marcus Stroman (it will be his season debut after having ACL surgery in March)
Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
Masahiro Tanaka (11-6, 3.57 ERA)
R.A. Dickey (10-10, 4.01 ERA)
Mark Teixeira, who has a deep bone bruise as a result of fouling a ball off his shin on August 18, was placed on the 15-day DL today retroactive to August 27. Teixeira has missed 13 of the last 15 games that the Yankees have played.
He has been missed in the lineup as a result of his 31 homers, 79 RBIs and .548 slugging percentage. His slugging percentage and homers both lead the team and his 79 RBIs are second on the team to Brian McCann’s 82 runs driven in. The Yankees have scored six runs or more five times since Teixeira has been out of the lineup, but they have also scored four runs or less 10 times, which includes the two games he played where he combined to make only three at-bats.
Rookie Greg Bird has been a capable replacement while Teixeira has been sidelined, but he is not able to help the offense at this stage like Teixeira is able to. In Bird’s 18 games since being called up from Triple-A Scranton, he has a .254 average in 63 at-bats with three homers, 12 runs scored and 12 RBIs. Bird will continue to be the everyday first baseman until at least September 11, which is when Teixeira is eligible to come off of the disabled list.
The injury didn’t heal like the Yankees originally expected it would, which led Teixeira to go on crutches this week. He was not likely to return before next Friday anyway, and putting him on the DL allowed the Yankees to call up Nick Rumbelow today, who would have had to stay at Triple-A one more day because without someone being put on the disabled list he would have had to stay with Scranton for 10 days.
Rumbelow, who is a rookie from LSU and was drafted in the 7th round by the Yankees in 2013, has gone back and forth between the big leagues and Scranton the last two months, but has pitched well with the Yankees when put into the game. He has a 2.79 ERA in 10 games (9.2 innings) this season with nine strikeouts, one homer allowed and a solid 1.13 WHIP. The DL stint by Teixeira will also give the Yankees the option of playing him in a rehab game.
The positive sign is that his injury is still not worse than a deep bone bruise, but it is still possible that he will return after next Friday. Returning a week from today would be ideal because that is when the Yankees begin a three-game series against the first place Toronto Blue Jays, and the Yankees could use the player who has been their best run producer this season in that series.
Before the series against Toronto, the Yankees will play three games against the Tampa Bay Rays and then three games against the Baltimore Orioles, who have lost eight of their last 10 games.
After the Yankees lost 3-2 in Game 1 of the series to the Cleveland Indians at Yankee Stadium, Masahiro Tanaka will get the start tonight as the Yankees try to even the series at one. The Yankees offense struggled against Josh Tomlin as they only scored one run on two hits and two walks in seven innings against him. Carlos Carrasco who has a solid 3.63 ERA and 162 strikeouts will get the start for the Indians tonight.
In Tanaka’s previous start, he threw a complete game against Toronto Blue Jays while allowing only one run on five hits and three walks. He was able to give the bullpen a much needed day off and his eight strikeouts were his most he has had in a game since June 3 against the Seattle Mariners. He should be able to have success tonight because the Indians lineup is not nearly as fearsome as the one that the Blue Jays have.
The Yankees, who are 1.5 games ahead of the Blue Jays for first place in the AL East, will be without three of their regulars tonight. Mark Teixeira will be out of the lineup for the fourth straight game as a result of fouling a ball of his leg on Monday.
“It’s day to day,” Girardi said. “I was hopeful we could get him back this weekend. I’m not sure that will happen.”
Jacoby Ellsbury is not in the starting lineup tonight because he has played in eight consecutive games and Girardi felt he could use a game off. Ellsbury has five multi-hit games in his previous eight games, but he is 3-14 with no extra-base hits in his career against Carrasco. Didi Gregorius is also getting a healthy game off.
“I don’t know if I’ve given Didi a day off since the All-Star break,” Girardi said. “So I just felt that he could use a day too. These 16-game stretches are tough, and it surely didn’t help with a 16-inning game to start.” Gregorius, who has played in every game since June 25, only has one hit in his last 21 at-bats, which means that not playing tonight could help him.
Here is the batting lineup for tonight’s game against the Indians, who are in last place in the AL Central with a 56-64 record.
Brett Gardner CF
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Greg Bird 1B
Chris Young LF
Stephen Drew 2B
Brendan Ryan SS
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.
After losing five consecutive games, the Yankees won their third consecutive game on Saturday. They were able to move 1.5 games ahead of the Toronto Blue Jays for first place in the AL East with their win on Saturday.
Masahiro Tanaka pitched his most important game in his two seasons with the Yankees as he pitched a complete game while only allowing one run on five hits. Tanaka had eight strikeouts and threw 112 pitches in the Yankees 4-1 win over Toronto. Tanaka was able to give the bullpen a much needed day off, which will mean that everybody will be available in the series finale.
Tanaka has proven in his last two starts that he is still capable of being the ace of the staff after struggling four starts. It appears that the Yankees will be able to rely on him in Game 1 of a postseason series.
“Just an unbelievable job by Masahiro,” manager Joe Girardi said. Tanaka added that he wanted to pitch deep into the game because he knew that Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller had thrown a lot of pitches recently. “My mindset was I wanted to go as deep into the game as possible,” Tanaka said through a translator. “I’m just really satisfied that I was able to do that.”
The Yankees scored four runs on nine hits including a solo homer by Carlos Beltran in the first and a solo blast by Mark Teixeira in the sixth. Teixeira had his second RBI of the game in the eighth inning as his single to center scored pinch-runner Chris Young. That was an important insurance run and this was Teixeira’s first multi RBI game since August 4. He had only one RBI since then.
Luis Severino will get his third start of the season for the Yankees and will look to help the Yankees sweep the Blue Jays. He has allowed three combined runs in his first two starts and has held the opposition to a .214 average. His slider, four-seam fastball and changeup have all been very effective, and he was able to rebound very well in his last start after struggling in the first two innings.
This is the lineup for today’s game against Toronto at Rogers Centre:
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Brett Gardner LF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Carlos Beltran RF
Chase Headley 3B
Didi Gregorius SS
Stephen Drew 2B
The Yankees ended their five-game losing streak with their 8-6 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night at Progressive Field. They scored more than four runs in a game for the first time since their 13-3 win over the Red Sox on August 4.
The Yankees offense slugged two homers, a 3-run homer by Brian McCann in the first inning and a solo blast by Stephen Drew (.195) in the second inning. The Yankees are 32-11 when hitting two or more homers this season.
Drew’s homer was his 15th round tripper of the season, which is more than any second baseman in the majors besides Brian Dozier. Nathan Eovaldi, who won his 12th game of the season, allowed two runs in the third inning to make the score 4-2.
The offense continued to find success off of Trevor Bauer as Drew hit a double to left to score Didi Gregorius in the fourth and Brett Gardner doubled to left to score Drew to send Bauer out of the game with the score 6-2 after 3.1 innings.
Eovaldi allowed two more earned runs in the sixth inning including a Lonnie Chisenhall single that scored former Yankee minor leaguer Abraham Almonte. He did not have his usual command of his pitches as he threw 5.1 innings and allowed seven hits, three walks and four earned runs.
“He just missed his spots tonight,” Joe Girardi said. “No real rhyme or reason to it sometimes.”
Eovaldi had previously allowed three runs or less in each of his previous nine starts and two runs or less in seven of his last nine starts. This improved results is partly due to his consistency of his splitter, which he has started to throw a lot more this season.
However, he was not able to throw his splitter where he wanted it to go against the Indians. “My split I felt was inconsistent,” Eovaldi said. “I didn’t feel like my slider was there tonight either. Luckily we got the win.”
The 7.60 runs per game that the Yankees have score during Eovaldi’s starts this season are the second most in the American League. The Yankees needed this offensive outburst against the Indians because they couldn’t go into their important weekend series against the Toronto Blue Jays with a sweep to the last place Indians.
To give the Yankees their seventh run and the lead for good, Gardner hit a single to center to score Drew to give the Yankees 7-2 advantage. Eovaldi left the game with a 7-4 lead, which allowed him to win his third game in his last four starts.
Justin Wilson allowed one run on two hits while recording the first two outs of the seventh inning. Dellin Betances threw a wild pitch that allowed Francisco Lindor to score and that run was charged to Wilson. In his previous nine games, Wilson had only allowed one run while striking out 10 and walking two.
Gardner drove in his third run of the game with his single in the eighth that sent Drew home. Andrew Miller bounced back after blowing his first save of the season in his previous appearance to record his 25th save, but the Indians did score a run on two hits off of him.
Miller has converted 25 out of 26 save chances this season and still has a very good 2.25 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in his first season as a closer. The bullpen has been a strength for the Yankees all season, and the team will need dominance from them the rest of the season to hold off the Blue Jays.
A major factor in the Yankees winning this game was that Ellsbury (2-4) and Gardner (3-4), who are the No. 1 and No. 2 hitters in the lineup, combined to go 5-8 with two runs scored and three RBIs. The Yankees need those two to hit well at the top of the order. Before this game, Ellsbury was 2-27 (.074) in his last six games, and Gardner was 4-20 (.200) with eight strikeouts in his last six games.
The Yankees are now 62-51 and half a game behind the first place Blue Jays. Toronto is the hottest team in baseball as they have won 11 games in a row going back to July 29. They are currently undefeated with Troy Tulowitzki on the team.
The Yankees and Blue Jays will play three games at the Rogers Centre starting tonight at 7:07. The Yankees will look to win games in a hostile environment as the Blue Jays fans will be into it since these are the biggest games at the Rogers Centre since they last made the playoffs in 1993. The two teams are top two in the American League in runs scored and RBIs.
The Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon meaning that they were swept in the three-game series by the Blue Jays. The Yankees have now gone 26 innings without scoring a run, which is not a a recipe for success.
“We definitely took a punch this weekend, and good teams punch back,” Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez said. “For us, it’s all about how we respond that matters.”
They now only have a 1.5 game lead over Toronto in the AL East after the Blue Jays scored nine runs in the series and the Yankees only scored one. Since Troy Tulowitzki was acquired by Toronto on July 28, the Blue Jays have won 11 of their last 12 games, and based on adding Tulowitzki and David Price are a much greater challenge in the division than they were before.
Toronto’s starting pitching, which has been better recently, really kept the Yankees previously powerful offense in check during the series. Knuckleball pitcher R.A. Dickey allowed one run in seven innings on Friday, Price threw a shutout in seven innings on Saturday and Marco Estrada did not allow a Yankee to score in his 6.1 innings pitched in the series finale.
The last time that the Yankees were shutout in back-to-back games was 16 years ago. The last time this happened was May 12 and 13 of 1999, which is a Major League record of 2,665 games. Mo Vaughn, who played from 1991 until 2003, hit a home run in the second game off of Hideki Irabu.
The Yankees were 0-5 with runners in scoring position and the only hits that the Yankees had in the game were singles by Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius off of Estrada. The offense, which scored 90 runs in 10 games from July 25 to August 4 (and has scored 4 runs while losing four of the last five games), has been hurt recently by facing two knuckleball pitchers in the last five games and by the struggles of the top two hitters in the team’s lineup.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who went 0-4 on Sunday, does not have a hit in his last 12 at-bats and is only hitting .129 in 31 at-bats in August. Brett Gardner, who was 0-3 in the series finale, is only hitting .182 in 22 August at-bats with two RBIs. Gardner had a .297 average on July 28 and after his recent struggles at the plate his average is now .285.
They have hurt the offense because after being effective earlier on the season (especially Gardner) not getting on base has limited Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez’s opportunities to drive in runs. Teixeira, whose 77 RBIs are fifth in the American League, is in MVP consideration, and Rodriguez will likely win Comeback Player of the Year since he has 24 homers and 63 RBIs. However, Rodriguez and Teixeira have combined for two RBIs in the last five games.
“This isn’t going to be comfortable the rest of the way,” Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “We have to fight for every win and that’s what we expect every single game going forward.” The Blue Jays, who have won eight straight games, have a 1.5 game deficit after trailing the Yankees by six games on August 2.
Masahiro Tanaka, who had allowed three runs or more in eight of his previous nine games, limited Toronto to two runs on Sunday. MVP candidate Josh Donaldson hit a solo homer in the first and then Jose Bautista hit a blast to left on a pitch that got too much of the middle of the plate. Tanaka, who pitched well enough to get the win, has been hurt by the homer recently since he has allowed at least one long ball in four of his previous five games.
The Yankees need to bounce back offensively when they play the Indians in Cleveland starting on Tuesday. The Yankees play Toronto again next weekend and it appears that the race for the division title will be close until the end of the season. After only allowing one earned run in five innings in his first start, rookie Luis Severino will make his second start on Tuesday.