Yankees lose ground against Toronto

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Updated: September 14, 2015

Opening a four game set against the Blue Jays in the Bronx on Friday, the Yankees had a chance to turn the AL East race decidedly in their favor. Instead, Toronto landed a series of body blows from which it will be difficult for the Bombers to recover from.

Though the slog of a 162-game season can cause boredom in even the most hardened of baseball fans, I was practically giddy to see Luis Severino take the hill in the opener against David Price. For a franchise unaccustomed in recent years to having a starter with “plus stuff” come through the ranks, the 21 year-old Severino has provided Yankee fans with a glimmer of hope for the future of the franchise. And with CC Sabathia decidedly on the back nine of his career, he will likely be put in a position to be a top of the rotation starter as soon as next season.

But next year is next year, and with an ace like Price on the mound and a lineup as stacked as Toronto’s ready to do some damage, the Yankee phenom got lit up like an Xmas tree. Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak each hit two-run shots in the first inning to build a big lead for Price, and Edwin Encarnacion ended Severino’s night in the third with a mammoth drive that probably just landed. It was a rough outing for the youngster (honesty the first egg he has laid in his first seven starts), and the Yankees will need him to bounce back in a big way now that Nathan Eovaldi is on the shelf.

Saturday was marred by more poor pitching from the Yankees, more raking from the Jays, and more questionable moves by Joe Girardi. The man with the binder who always seems to get a pass, Girardi had a terrible week from the bench, putting his top relievers on ice in the Baltimore series, unnecessarily pinch running for A-Rod in the first game on Saturday, and then mismanaging the bullpen during both ends of Saturday’s double-header. It’s hard to say what has gotten into the head man lately, but each game is crucial at down the stretch and his decisions aren’t helping the cause at the moment.

Manager mishaps aside, if it wasn’t for Masahiro Tanaka’s gem this afternoon, the Yankees would’ve finished the series four games back in the loss column. Tanaka helped the team save some face, allowing just four hits over seven innings. If the Yankees’ season comes down to a one-game playoff at the end of the season, he will be the best bet to take the ball and handle the big game theatrics.

Giving credit where credit is due though, Toronto simply looks like the more complete team at this point in the season. The Jays lead the majors in runs, home runs, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS, and electing to go all in at the trade deadline has reinvigorated the team and the entire fan base. In fact, it sounded like Jays’ fans had taken over Yankee Stadium this weekend, as their loud contingent reveled in the beating they were dishing out.

The two teams will finish the regular season with a three game series in Toronto, and following the thrashing that occurred in the Bronx this weekend, the Yankees have a lot of work to do in order to put themselves in a position for those contests to mean something.

 

 

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