Impotent Yankees lose to Jays 3-2; AL East lead in jeopardy

The Yankees lost to the Blue Jays Saturday afternoon in Toronto in an offensively impotent showing that has fans scratching their heads and pulling at their fingernails. Andy Pettitte tossed five and two-thirds innings of solid, albeit unspectacular ball (3 ER, 5 H, 4 K’s, 3 BB), and the bullpen (more or less) managed to keep Toronto at bay, but the Yankee offense couldn’t find a hit when it mattered. Time and again they’d strand runners in scoring position, searching desperately for the one hit that just couldn’t seem to fall in.

It was a terribly frustrating spectacle.

The loss puts the Yankees in position to fall into a tie for the AL East with Baltimore, if the Orioles beat Boston this evening–almost a foregone conclusion this year. The Yankees play Toronto again tomorrow, then host Boston in a season-ending (-defining, -determining) three game set. The Orioles get, arguably, the harder season-ending series, as they travel to Tampa to take on the Rays–a schedule that probably favors the Yankees.

Breakdown after the jump.

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Yanks Suffer An Embarrassing Loss To The Lowly Jays

What is the one thing the Yankees cannot afford to do during this last weekend of the season? They cannot lose to bad teams and more specifically bad pitchers like Ricky Romero. So what did they do this afternoon? Exactly that. The Yankees started off strong with two runs in the first inning off Romero and then…they did nothing. Literally. The Blue Jays scored three runs on seven hits and won the game because the Yankee offense fell asleep at the wheel. All three runs were charged to Andy Pettitte who lost his first game since coming back from the Continue reading Yanks Suffer An Embarrassing Loss To The Lowly Jays

Game 158: The Last Saturday Of the Regular Season

Happy Saturday! Weekend day games have a way of sneaking on you, don’t they? Here are the lineups: Yankees Derek Jeter DH Ichiro Suzuki LF Alex Rodriguez 3B Robinson Cano 2B Nick Swisher 1B Curtis Granderson CF Andruw Jones RF Eduardo Nunez SS Chris Stewart C LHP Andy Pettitte (5-3, 2.71) Blue Jays Brett Lawrie 3B Rajai Davis LF Edwin Encarnacion DH Yunel Escobar SS Yan Gomes 1B Moises Sierra RF Jeff Mathis C Adeiny Hechavarria 2B Anthony Gose LF LHP Ricky Romero (9-14, 5.76) GO YANKEES! Lineups courtesy of the Lohud Yankees blog.

Game 158: Magic Numbers

October is right around the bend, but most Yankee fans feel like it’s here already–as Brien said yesterday. It feels like every night is must-win, that the Orioles are maybe two bad games away from slipping into first place, and that for every great game they play the O’s give one right back. It hasn’t been the most calming couple weeks.

But that’s why we love baseball, right?

Andy Pettitte’s on the bump today, taking on Ricky Romero. Game on.
Yankees (91-66)
D. Jeter, DH
I. Suzuki, LF
A. Rodriguez, 3B
R. Cano, 2B
N. Swisher, 1B
C. Granderson, CF
A. Jones, RF
E. Nunez, SS
C. Stewart, C

Blue Jays (69-88)
B. Lawrie, 3B
R. Davis, LF
E. Encarnacion, DH
Y. Escobar, SS
Y. Gomes, 1B
M. Sierra, RF
J. Mathis, C
A. Hechavarria, 2B
A. Gose, CF Continue reading Game 158: Magic Numbers

Cano in lineup. Tex close to returning

Robinson Cano had x-rays done after being hit in his left hand with a pitch in the sixth inning of last night’s game, and the results came back negative for any damage. Cano is in today’s lineup and playing second base, which is obviously a good sign that he feels okay.

In other news, Joe Girardi indicated last night that first baseman Mark Teixeira could be close to rejoining the team. Tex played in an instructional game on yesterday and is scheduled for five innings of work today, and if he comes out of that fine he could be back with the Yankees as early as Monday. Continue reading Cano in lineup. Tex close to returning

Yankees blast past Jays 11-4

The Yankees might have suffered a disappointing loss to the last place Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night, but they were determined not to repeat that folly on Friday. Behind a relentless attack that put 11 runs and three hits on the board, the Bombers got the job done and then some in the second game of this four game series, easily topping Toronto 11-4. Let’s recap:

The good:

  • The offense was outstanding from beginning to end tonight. In addition to the 11 runs, thirteen hits, two home runs, and six walks they mustered in the game, the Yankees’ hitters seemed to have good at bat after good at bat, and off the top of my head I can’t think of a single at bat that was completely given away. The Yankees saw a total of 188 pitches from seven different pitchers tonight, and knocked the opposing starter out of the game in the fourth inning. That’s good stuff.
  • The biggest blow was a three run homer off the bat of Russell Martin in the sixth inning. The Yankees got the first two batters of the inning on but were unable to do anymore as Curtis Granderson and Raul Ibanez both made outs, but Martin mustered a hard fought at bat before pulling a 3-2 slider over the left field wall. That was his 20th home run of the season, a new career best for Martin. Pretty crazy considering how much he’s struggled at the plate, huh?
  • Every Yankee starter got at least one hit, with Martin, Ichiro Suzuki, Nick Swisher, and Robinson Cano all getting two hits.
  • Brett Gardner made a cameo as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning. He actually came in for Ichiro, with Chris Dickerson moving over to right field after replacing Ibanez in the field. Dickerson came in first because Ibanez’s turn in the batting order wound up coming around, so there’s some concrete evidence that Gardner is definitely not cleared to hit in a game yet.

The bad:

  • Hiroki Kuroda wasn’t really bad, per se, but he probably wasn’t as good as he could have been, surrendering 10 hits and two walks in 5.1 innings. That he couldn’t even get through the sixth inning after the offense scored four runs in the top of the frame to spot him a 7-1 lead to work with was particularly annoying, but apparently Joe Girardi was planning on getting his relievers some work anyway, so maybe it’s no big deal at all.
  • Speaking of, I don’t really want to criticize him for it because the thought process was probably sound, but Girardi’s bullpen usage sure was interesting tonight. After David Phelps completed 1.2 innings in relief of Kuroda, Girardi brought David Robertson into the game in the eighth with a 9-4 lead, and then brought Rafael Soriano in with two outs and none on in the ninth. Again, I guess he was just trying to get the guys some work, but with no off days between now and the end of the season and the very real possibility of playing a 163rd game against Baltimore on Thursday, I think I’d be a little bit more cautious about using both of my best relievers in a game I don’t need them to win.

The bottom line:

Pretty straight-forward: the Yankees need to win every game between now and locking up the division, so every time they knock that magic number down it’s a successful night. Best of all was seeing the offense bounce back so forcefully from a rather dreadful performance on Thursday. That kind of got overlooked as we all freaked out over Ivan Nova continuing his abysmal second half, and there’s no need to dwell on it anymore after tonight’s performance, which was probably one of their best of the entire season. Now you just have to come back and do it all over again, and because they easily defeated Boston tonight, they’ll still have the Orioles right on their heels, just one game back as of first pitch tomorrow.

Are we having fun yet? Continue reading Yankees blast past Jays 11-4

Yanks Beat Jays 11-4, Magic Number Down To Five

Now that we’re down to the final six games of the season, it’s all about keeping pace for the Yankees and they did that tonight with an 11-4 victory over the Blue Jays. With tonight’s victory they maintain their one-game lead over Baltimore in the American League East standings. Nick Swisher got things started for the Yankees in the first inning with a two-run double that gave them an early 2-0 lead. The Yanks added another run in the third inning when Derek Jeter grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and Raul Ibanez scored from third. After Continue reading Yanks Beat Jays 11-4, Magic Number Down To Five

Game 157: Rooting for Boston from Under a Rock

New York Yankees Toronto Blue Jays Derek Jeter, SS Brett Lawrie, 3B Ichiro Suzuki, RF Colby Rasmus, CF Alex Rodriguez, 3B Edwin Encarnacion, DH Robinson Cano, 2B J.P. Arencibia, C Nick Swisher, 1B Adam Lind, 1B Curtis Granderson, CF Yunel Escobar, SS Raul Ibanez, LF Kelly Johnson, 2B Russell Martin, C Rajai Davis, RF Eric Chavez, DH Anthony Gose, LF Hiroki Kuroda, SP Chad Jenkins, SP The first pitch is scheduled for 7:07 p.m., on YES. Let’s go Yankees! N.B. Aaron Cook and the Red Sox are squaring off against Chris Tillman and the Orioles at 7:05, in Baltimore.

For the Yankees, October has come early

In correlation to the potentially looming problem of Ivan Nova‘s next start, it would be somewhat difficult to overstate how important the next start is for the other 80% of the Yankees’ current rotation. The four guys that Joe Girardi will almost certainly call on to start for the team in the postseason will be facing a couple of teams that need to play .500 ball for the rest of the season just to reach the 70 win mark, and will have a reasonably good chance to wrap up the A.L. East race before Game 161 even gets here. If the Yankees were to win each of the next four games, the Orioles would have to go 3-1 to avoid being eliminated prior to Tuesday night, and no worse than 5-1 over the rest of the season to have a chance to tie the Yankees atop the A.L. East.

It’s kind of meaningless to make big proclamations about so and so needing to come through when it matters this time of year because, really, you actually kind of do need to play well all season long. If the Yankees wind up losing the division by one game, you can pull out any number of blown chances going all the way back to Mariano Rivera‘s blown save on Opening Day and point to it as a moment that cost them the A.L. East. That said, this is the sort of stretch that separates division winners from wild card teams, and the fact that it’s coming during the last week of the season merely serves to make it even more stark. The playoffs might not officially start until next weekend, but the Yankees might as well treat these next four games like quasi-playoff games, because they really do kind of need to win all four of them for the sake of playoff positioning. Continue reading For the Yankees, October has come early