At first this had the makings of an old fashioned rout. The Blue Jays were leading 10-1 after the fifth inning. The Yankee offense and defense looked inept and I was wondering why I’d dedicated my Sunday to this stinker. The Yankees made it interesting, and at least got me to slide up from the edge of the couch, but in the end the deficit was too much to overcome.
Phil Hughes was awful. Hughes is a fly ball pitcher, which makes it difficult for me to judge when he has command of his arsenal, and when he’s going to implode. Is a fly ball out to the track just part of his game, or is it evidence he’s going to get shelled? In this case the shelling was coming. The Blue Jays put six of the seven runs Hughes allowed on the board in the fourth inning, led by Rajai Davis‘ two doubles and Edwin Encarnacion‘s home run. (By the way, when did Encarnacion turn into a .293/.389/.571 hitter?)
Hughes only gave the Yankees four innings, and left the team in a miserable 7-0 hole. He allowed nine hits, while striking out four. Yuck. And for those who are wondering, it is not a coincidence that the Yankees’ recent bad play has come when Hughes and Ivan Nova have lost their way.
Joe Girardi turned things over to Ryota Igarashi. Joe probably thought the game was lost and wanted to see what Igarashi had. The answer was not much. He allowed three more runs to make it a 10-1 ball game.
Keeping the new pitcher out there to get his feet wet was sound logic, but it would also prove costly. Beginning in the sixth inning the Yankees mounted a come back. First, Derek Jeter hit a solo homer, one of this three hits on the day. (The Captain is now hitting .318/.359/.422). Later that inning Robinson Cano put a two run shot in the people, cutting it to a 10-4 game.
In the seventh inning, with Curtis Granderson on base, Casey McGehee hit what would have been a two run bomb, had Rajai Davis not timed his leap perfectly and caught the shot as it was heading over the wall. What had at once looked like a chance for the Yankees to cut the lead to four was instead a loud out.
Fortunately, Granderson would score anyway. The Yankees strung together three consecutive hits, two of which were doubles, each coming with runners in scoring position. Jayson Nix doubled in Curtis. Derek Jeter doubled in Nix. Nick Swisher singled in Jeter. After a burst of exciting baseball the Yankees had cut the 10-1 lead all the way down to 10-7.
That’s as far as it would go. The Jays held on to put the Yankees away quietly in the 8th and 9th innings, preventing a sweep and ending the Yankees’ four game win streak.
Things are about to get hard. Beginning tomorrow the Yankees play a stretch of ten in a row that features four games versus Texas, and then three apiece against the Red Sox and the White Sox. That’s some tough baseball right there, coming at a time when the Yankees are at best erratic. Making matters worse, the Yankees will be without CC Sabathia who was put on the 15 day DL with elbow inflammation in his pitching arm. While the injury is nothing to worry about in theory, the timing is bad and it is always concerning when your best pitcher has arm problems.
The first game against Texas features newly acquired Ryan Dempster going up against David Phelps. That one smells like 3-0 Rangers to me. I’ll be paying close attention to this series. Texas and the Yankees have both consistently been the best teams in the AL this season, but neither team has played well of late. One of the two teams needs to make a statement. Hopefully that team will be the Yankees.
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