Raise your hand if you’re getting tired of losing to Toronto. I know I am. With a 6-3 victory, the Blue Jays have now beaten the Yankees seven times this year, more than every other team in baseball. Tampa Bay is second with six wins against New York. The Jays have won three of the four series the two teams have played in 2010, and I’m getting tired of being right in predicting series’ outcomes. I suppose the one thing you might be able to take away from the Jays’ dominance of the Yanks is that they incredibly haven’t had to face CC Sabathia one time in 12 games, and I’d have to imagine they wouldn’t have seven victories against the Yankees this year if that weren’t the case.
Regardless, the Jays have severely out-hit and out-pitched the Yankees this season, and watching these teams square off has become borderline torture. Phil Hughes stunk, throwing 3 2/3 innings of five-run ball and using 102 pitches to do so — a shame considering he shut Toronto down last time out. Brett Cecil was every bit as good as Hughes was bad, hurling 8 innings of two-run ball, the only damage coming from a Marcus Thames two-run bomb. The Yankees simply cannot figure Cecil out this year, as he has now thrown 22 innings against them over three starts while surrendering four runs. That’s a 1.64 ERA; and he may still get two more outings against the Yanks to see if he can approach Felix Hernandez and his 0.35 ERA against the 2010 Yankees. Blech.
The Yankees actually staged a mini-rally in the top of the ninth. Jason Frasor recorded two quick outs before walking Austin Kearns and Brett Gardner. This prompted Cito Gaston to bring in closer Kevin Gregg despite a four-run lead. Eduardo Nunez greeted Gregg by singling Kearns home, and Derek Jeter then worked a tough 10-pitch at-bat that resulted in a HBP, loading the bases and bringing the potential go-ahead run to the plate. Unfortunately, like several other times this year the Yankees got us excited about a potential comeback but ultimately failed to come through, as Curtis Granderson drove a ball to deep center that was caught by Vernon Wells.
I’m certainly not blaming anyone, as Curtis gave the ball a pretty good ride, nor am I all that upset as I didn’t think the Yankees had that realistic a shot at coming all the way back from a four-run deficit, but it has been a bit frustrating seeing the offense go silent for eight innings in a lot of their losses this season before suddenly waking up in the ninth facing too large a deficit to really make a serious go at a comeback.
Getting back to Vernon Wells for a moment, I’m not sure where to find individual batter/pitcher numbers and it could be that perception is greater than reality, but it seems like he absolutely owns Phil Hughes. Not only did he go 3-3 last night with a homer, a triple and four RBIs off Phil, but I still remember Wells ruining Hughes’ Major League debut, hitting an RBI double in the first inning that represented the first earned run of Hughes’ career.
Additionally, I know I harped on this the other day, but how does Toronto not have a better record? They have ridiculously good starting pitching (and imagine they had held on to Roy Halladay!) a strong bullpen and a pretty monstrous offense. I remain baffled.