The Yankees don't do a lot of winning against the Blue Jays these days and they had their ace on the mound for yesterday's series opener, so they really needed to get this game. A strong start from said ace and a big day for the forgotten $153 million man helped them do just that.
Jacoby Ellsbury has been a bum this season, and his Sunday afternoon benching was completely justified in my opinion. He responded to that decision by hitting a 2-run home run in the bottom of the 1st yesterday to put the Yankees on top 2-1. He also drove in Tyler Austin with a single in the bottom of the 3rd to make it 3-1.
Tanaka wasn't at his absolute best yesterday. The Jays got to him for a 1st inning run on a few hits and his command was not nearly as sharp as what we're used to seeing. But he settled down a bit after that rocky 1st and managed to get through 6 innings without allowing any more damage. Toronto put at least one baserunner on against him in every inning except the 6th, but Tanaka made pitches and got outs when he had to.
His day finally ended with 1 out and a man on in the 7th, and Joe made the curious decision to go with rookies Jonathan Holder and Ben Heller against the top of the Toronto lineup in relief. Holder walked Jose Bautista and Josh Donaldson with 2 outs to load the bases, Heller gave up a 2-run single to Edwin Encarnacion to make it 5-3. A job well done by all parties involved.
At least Joe came to senses and didn't play around in the next 2 innings. Clippard threw a perfect 8th and Betances a perfect 9th. That's more like it.
- Ellsbury finished 3-4 with 3 RBI on the day. Where the hell has that been all year? If he would have more games like that, he wouldn't be sitting on the bench for the must-win ones. It's just like the Wild Card game last year.
- 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 4 K for Tanaka. Not his best line of the season by far, but that's the difference between him and the rest of the rotation. He can still get outs and be effective even when he's not at his best.
- Nice day for Tyler Austin, who got the start at first again and went 2-3 with 2 doubles and 2 ribbies. He seems like he's taking some better swings lately. He's got that average back up over .200.
- 0-3 with 3 more strikeouts for Aaron Judge. He's absolutely lost up there at the plate. The Yankees need to keep rolling him out there to work through it, but damn dude. Change up the approach a little bit. You're making yourself too easy to get ahead of and too easy to strike out.
- How good has Tyler Clippard been since coming back?? 0.60 ERA in 15.0 IP over 16 appearances, 10 hits, 16 strikeouts. He still looks like miniature Kyle Farnsworth, but he sure as hell pitches a lot better than him.