Blue Jays 14 Yankees 1
As gusts of wind visibly rattled the loosely fit uniforms on players, the New York Yankees failed to generate momentum. In a slow-paced game – the first six innings took over three hours – they fell to the Toronto Blue Jays by a score of 14-1.
The loss gives the Yankees three in their last four games following their ten-game winning streak. Although they scored 12 runs in Tuesday’s victory, Sahlen Field in Buffalo has not been kind to them. They have seen an all-or-nothing type of results there. In the two victories, the Yankees outscored the Blue Jays 19-3, but they have been outscored 39-14 in the four losses. In addition, they have allowed a double-digit run total in each of their three losses during this four-game stretch dating back to Sunday’s game against the Boston Red Sox.
Manager Aaron Boone credits a poor performance tonight rather than the venue.
“We just didn’t play well tonight in every facet,” Boone said. “I don’t think that necessarily had anything to do with Buffalo. We’re a better baseball team than what we showed tonight.”
Masahiro Tanaka started the game, and he battled from the start. He entered the game having walked 2.9% of the batters he has faced all season. That was not the case as he walked three of the 23 batters, or 13%, he faced on Wednesday. He labored through four innings and threw 91 pitches. He struck out five batters, but he also allowed eight hits to go along with the three walks to put 11 men on base in those four innings.
Despite his lack of effectiveness, Tanaka did not get a lot of help in the field. Momentum swayed in favor of the Blue Jays early when a play in the field cost Tanaka an inning-ending double play. A batted ball by Teoscar Hernandez looked like a guarantee, but the ball took a weird hop and shot into center field for a base hit. Tanaka recovered to strike out Randal Grichuk before another hit and a a Gary Sanchez throwing error plated two runs.
The sloppy play continued as the game went on, and a similar situation unfolded in the third inning. Tanaka and Sanchez erased a leadoff walk with a strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play. A ground ball to shortstop should have ended the inning, but a fielding error by Gleyber Torres kept the game going. The Yankees committed four errors in the game, and three of them happened while Tanaka was on the mound.
His final line was four innings pitched, allowing five runs, including three earned runs.
“It was definitely a grind for me tonight,” Tanaka said. “The situation on the field, some wind factors, considering that. All in all, yes, it was a grind out there tonight.”
Lack of Offense
The Yankees’ inability to score was not due to a stellar start from the the Blue Jays’ Robbie Ray. They put seven men on base against Ray in four innings, but failed to capitalized. Their two best opportunities to seize the momentum came in the second and fifth innings. Ray put runners on second and third with one out in the second inning. The Yankees managed to score onerun on a wild pitch, but did not get a hit the rest of the inning. In the fifth inning, they loaded the bases against Ray and A.J. Cole with no one out. They, again, failed to get a hit and did not score that inning.
After that, the Yankees were shut down the rest of the game as Ross Stripling closed out the game with a four-inning, one-hit, no-walk performance.
It was a stark difference from the Blue Jays’ offensive output. Five players had multi-hit games for Toronto and three men reached base four times. Danny Jansen finished with four hits and two home runs. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had two hits and three RBI.
“It’s a frustrating performance, but it’s happened now and we gotta put it behind us,” Boone said.
The Yankees can no longer win the AL East after the Tampa Bay Rays officially clinched on Tuesday, but they can still secure a home-field advantage in the first round of the postseason. Putting Tuesday’s game behind them is a necessity as they look to reach that opportunity in the final games of the regular season.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images