We play today, we win today, das it. Mariano Duncan’s mantra still holds true 15 years later, and the Yankees sure are doing a whole lotta winning these days. Sunday’s 9-3 beat down of the Blue Jays gave them the series sweep and pushed them even further out in front of the AL East.
Derek Loves The Lefties
Despite all the struggles Derek Jeter went thought last year and the first part of this year, there’s one thing he never stopped doing, and that’s hit lefties. He tagged them for a .382 wOBA last year and came into this game with a .410 wOBA off southpaws, so he took care of business when Brett Cecil caught too much of the plate with an 87 mph fastball in a 1-1 count in the third inning. Jesus Montero (single) and Brett Gardner (hit-by-pitch) had reached base ahead of the Cap’n, so it was a three-run shot that landed not too far away from where his 3,000th career hit landed. It gave the Yankees a four-zip lead in the early going.
Sabathia Shows No Ill Effects
Last time out, CC Sabathia threw 128 grueling pitches in a six-inning outing against the Red Sox, but the Yankees opted not to give him an extra day of rest before this start. He came out of the gate in this game and was a little wild at first, but he quickly settled down and chipped in his usual seven-plus strong innings. The two runs he allowed came in the fourth inning on a single, walk, double down the left field line, and an RBI groundout. Nothing too crazy.
Sabathia threw another 111 pitches (79 strikes, or 71%), struck out ten, walked just the one, and got six outs on the ground compared to two in the air. It was his fifth double-digit strikeout game of the year (compared to five total during his first two years in pinstripes), and he’s now just two whiffs shy of becoming the 65th member of the 2,000 career strikeout club. Over his last seven starts, the big guy has walked just six compared to 55 strikeouts in 49.2 IP. That’ll do.
F**k! Just Another Homer
It’s always fun when a batter shows some frustration after making contact and the ball drops in for a hit anyway, usually a bloop single or a ground ball with eyes or something like that. It’s not often that the hit is a homerun though, but that’s exactly what happened on Alex Rodriguez‘s solo homer in the sixth inning. Cecil busted him inside with a 2-0 sinker that Alex hit off the label, prompting a four-letter level of frustration. The ball looked like a pop-up off the bat, but it just kept carrying and carrying and carrying, and soon enough to dropped into the first row of seats in right for a solo shot. How about that?
Speaking of frustration, I enjoyed Paul O’Neill giving Cecil tantrum-throwing tips after he exited the game was caught on camera smashing various items in the dugout. Never use the pitching hand!
Rafael Soriano took over for Sabathia and immediately gave up the obligatory solo homer to Jose Bautista, but kinda sorta settled down to record the final two outs of the frame. He’s been much better since coming off the DL, no doubt about it, but there have been a lot of loud outs in his last few outings going back to Boston. Cory Wade finished things off with a scoreless ninth inning.
Gardner basically created a run in the first inning with a walk and stolen base before coming around to score when the shortstop threw the ball away on Mark Teixeira‘s would-be ground out. Nick Swisher clubbed a two-run insurance homer in the bottom of the ninth, and Jeter plated two more with a single in the same inning. Andruw Jones was the only player in the lineup that failed to reach base, even pinch-runner Eduardo Nunez managed to pick up a knock later in the game. He ran for Jesus Montero after the starting DH reached base for the third time (two singles and a reach-on-error).
The Yankees swept Toronto for the first time in a series longer than two games for the first time since 2005, and they’ve now won four games in a row and seven of their last eight. They improved to 24-3 in day games at home and 37-9 in day games overall. The Rangers annihilated the Red Sox, so the lead in the AL East increased to 1.5 games and two in the loss column. The Rays beat the Orioles, so the lead in the wildcard race remained 9.5 games. The magic number to clinch a postseason berth dropped to 15 with the win.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
It’s a Labor Day matinee against the Orioles, who are coming to town for a three-game series to close out the mini-homestand. Freddy Garcia gets the start against
Jo-Jo Reyes Brian Matusz at 1:05pm ET. If you want to catch the game before the unofficial end of the summer, RAB Tickets can help get you there.