Overbay’s late homer gives Yankees four-game sweep over Blue Jays

Encinas throws another scoreless start in River Dogs win
Fan Confidence Poll: April 29th, 2013

Well that was an incredibly satisfying series. Four games against the offseason champion Blue Jays, four wins. Love it. They should do this more often. Sunday’s final score was 3-2.

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

Brennan & Lyle
The Yankees used homers from Brennan Boesch and Lyle Overbay to win a game over reigning Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey on Sunday afternoon. Imagine if I had told you that like, 13 months ago. You would have thought I was crazy. I would have thought I was crazy. Yet, here we are.

Boesch’s solo homer came in the second inning, the first time the Yankees had scored first in their last eight games. That dates back to the last series against the Blue Jays in Toronto. It was a cheap Yankee Stadium homer off the end of the bat, but Boesch hit it just well enough to clear the fence. The Yankees didn’t hit much of anything with authority for the first six innings really, Dickey had them way off balance.

Five innings after the Boesch homer, the Yankees mounted their latest comeback rally, this one a simple two-run homer. Travis Hafner led off the seventh with a single to center and after two quick fly ball outs, Lyle Overbay turned on a hanging knuckleball in a 1-1 count and hit it right to David Robertson in the bullpen. I didn’t think he got enough of it off the bat, yet the ball cleared the fence and suddenly the one-run deficit was a one-run lead. These come from behind wins sure are fun, even if they are a bit nerve-wracking.

InePHicient Phil
Two runs in six innings is a pretty good outing for most pitchers, but I can’t help but feel like Sunday’s start could have been so much better for Phil Hughes. He came out of gate throwing hard and missing bats — eight whiffs in his first three innings — but a weak-hit two-out rally in the fourth put the Blue Jays on the board. The first hit was a infield single that hugged the third base foul line, the second hit a bloop to shallow left, the third a ground ball just beyond Robinson Cano‘s reach at second. Three seeing-eye hits with two outs. Yuck.

(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
(AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

The second run was well-earned in the sense that it involved some hard-hit balls. The sixth inning rally started with a Jose Bautista leadoff double into the left field corner and ended with a two-out Maicer Izturis double into the right field corner. In between were two strikeouts, a stolen base, and an intentional walk to Adam Lind (!). The Yankees pitch to Lind like he’s Barry Bonds or something. Anyway, Hughes has to get Izturis in that spot and he didn’t. He’s lucky it wasn’t the #obligatoryhomer.

Speaking of #obligatoryhomers, this is two straight starts for Phil without one now. Last homer he surrendered was 15 innings ago, when Martin Prado took him deep. He’s actually had three homerless starts out of five total this year. Hughes only had one stretch of two consecutive homer-free starts last year, and that was a stretch of three straight from late-June into the All-Star break. He’s going to give up plenty of dingers, they’re coming at some point, but he’s been able to avoid them for two starts now. Hooray for that.

Hughes struck out nine in his six innings of work, and he was again aggressive on the mound: 76 strikes out of 111 total pitches (69%) and first pitch strikes to 16 of 26 batters faced. Not quick as ridiculous as last time out, but still pretty good. This start feels like it could have been better, but that three straight strong outings for Philbert after two dreadful starts to begin the year. I’ll take it.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty)
(Jim McIsaac/Getty)

The Yankees only had four hits on the afternoon, two by Overbay (single and homer) and one apiece from Boesch (homer) and Hafner (single). That’s it. They did draw three walks (Cano, Ichiro Suzuki, Eduardo Nunez), but Dickey kept them off balance almost all afternoon. There was an awful lot of weak contact before that seventh inning.

The bullpen was stellar, as the late-game trio of Boone Logan, Robertson, and Mariano Rivera slammed the door over the final three innings. Logan allowed a soft line drive single and that was it, no other base runners. The three combined for four strikeouts. The relief corps has really settled down after a shaky start to the season.

This was the team’s first four-game sweep of the Blue Jays at home since September 1995, basically a baseball lifetime ago. In the span of six days, the Yankees have managed to beat both reigning Cy Young Award winners — remember they beat David Price in the last series against the Rays.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
That’s a fun graph. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Houston Astros, otherwise known as the worst team in the AL and arguably the worst in all of baseball, are coming to the Bronx for a three-game series. It’s tough to expect a sweep against any big league team, but it goes without saying the Yankees need to take advantage and pile up some wins against Houston. Andy Pettitte and right-hander Lucas Harrell will be your Monday night pitching matchup. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to attend the game.

Encinas throws another scoreless start in River Dogs win
Fan Confidence Poll: April 29th, 2013
  • Karl Krawfid

    Fun team to watch play.

    • ROBTEN

      I agree. The season has been more fun than I expected thus far. I’d say it was winning, but if Michael Kay is right–and anyone who preaches the evils of soup is a sage in my book–then I’d probably have to credit the team chemistry that has developed between my multiple personalities.

  • Eddard

    When I said they could win 7/10 on the homestand I didn’t expect them to take the first 4! Now 7/10 might be a disappointment with one of the worst teams in AL history coming to town next. If Dave Phelps can strike out 9 Jays in 4 innings just imagine how many Astros he can strike out.

    I said this a few days ago and everyone jumped down my throat, but this team really does remind me a lot of the 09 club with their ability to come from behind. It seems like someone new comes through each night- Ichiro, Cano, Wells, Hafner, and now Overbay.

    I love how Phil works so quickly now. It’s not as slow and laborious to watch him get through an inning anymore. He gets the ball back and is ready to throw the next pitch. This makes him more aggressive and he should be with his stuff.

    • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

      The come-from-behind thing that was a signature of the 2009 Yanks was more of a reputation of that 4-game series with the Twins in May 2009 where they had like 3 consecutive walk-off wins when entering the bottom of the ninth trailing. Then, after that series they went and got hot for the rest of the year. They were a game under. 500 up to that point.

      This Yankee team is fun to watch. But the come-from-behind trait isn’t the same that’s associated with the ’09 team. Not better, not worse. Just different.

  • Havok9120

    We win for Prussia and the Captain.

    Mostly for Prussia.

  • Eddard

    And I don’t feel the least bit bad for the showboating Jays. Maybe they could learn something from the quiet dignity of the Yankees. You didn’t see Overbay flexing his muscles like a roided out lunatic after his HR. You don’t see Ichiro parading around like a clown after he makes a good play like Kawasaki does. He just goes about his business. Maybe they weren’t listening to Mariano when he was giving them a free lesson on how to play the game the right way.

    • Bob Buttons

      You shouldn’t feel the least bit bad for any team that we face.

      That aside, it really is absolutely stupid that people love to attack anyone on the Yanks that shows a bit of excitement (i.e. Joba), yet support other guys (who aren’t even on their team) showboating.

      Then again, people who hate the Yankees “because they outspend everyone” are stupid.

      • jjyank

        I agree. I also think there is a line between “showboating” and “showing emotion”. Joba or Cervelli’s fist pumps, for example, I put in the latter category. Jose Valverde doing a fucking river dance when closing out a 7-4 game, is the former.

        Just my opinion. I have no problem with players showing some emotion. It is a game, after all.

        • Bob Buttons

          Indeed. There is definitely a line between “YES I’M EXCITED THAT WAS AWESOME” and “YOU GUYS GOT SERVED! I KICKED YOUR ASS HAHAH YOU GUYS SUCK! ” Fist pumping or a couple of hops, or some home plate celebrations (i.e. generic getting mobbed at the plate) are fine.

          IMO stuff like Valverde, fist pumping after every out, or bowling-pin home plate celebration are overboard. (i.e. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XxWeRhih-jo)

          I guess for me the line is between congratulating yourself or your team mates to on-field celebration over crap that happens a lot (unlike pennant race stuff for some teams) like walk-off HR or saving a bloody game.

          People used to get hit for not having your head down and circle the bases. I’m not saying that it is right to do that, but a little more modesty won’t make you seem like a jerk.

          • Kiko Jones

            I agree completely. However, that bowling pin celebration at home plate was the coolest thing ever.

            • forensic

              So, you agree completely, except for the stuff you don’t agree with? ;-)

            • Bob Buttons

              I wouldn’t mind if it was some close game that they needed to win in a close pennant race, but for the video Brewers were 10 games back for WC and 14 GB for NL Central, with like 20 games to play. You hit a home run, big whoop.

              I mean, he does it pretty much every time he hits a walk-off HR. It was cool to see it once but it is rather show-offy after the first time.

      • Kiko Jones

        [P]eople who hate the Yankees ‘because they outspend everyone’ are stupid.


    • Get Phelps Up

      Who said we should feel bad for them?

  • http://RAB I remember the CBS years!

    I don’t understand the Girardi speak about creating runs, and then not send our best base stealer(2) Nunez against Dickey?

  • mustang

    People simply need to start believing in this team instead of looking for reasons not to. I didn’t think they would be at .500 let alone 6 over with everything that has happen its kind of amazing. Still early but I’m becoming a believer very quickly.

  • Dela G

    great win

  • forensic

    Love seeing the Jays be so frustrated and down right now. So satisfying and beautiful.

    • Bob Buttons

      Hear hear. Extremely satisfying seeing how they were joking about hitting a few of our guys to improve their postseason chances (it’s true but it ain’t cool joking about how your pitcher injured someone else via HBP) and how pretty much every Jays fan wrote us off before ST.

    • jjyank

      Indeed. Between the media, Jays fans, and some of the more pessimistic Yankee fans all tooting the Jays’ horns all offseason, it feels really, really good to finish off a four game sweep.

      • Jim Isn’t Bored

        Pessimist’s gonna pessimist.

      • Dalek Jeter

        The media and Blue Jay fans didn’t bother me. I feel like they (Blue Jay Fans) had legitimate reasons to be excited, obtaining a game changer like Reyes and two very good pitchers in Dickey and Johnson to go with a very good middle of the line up. What really bothered me is the people in our own fan base who gave up on the team before one pitch had been thrown because a team that was ~.500 last season got better while the Yankees sort of stood pat after winning 95 games last season.

        • jjyank

          It was a combination for me. I couldn’t watch ESPN, I couldn’t watch MLBN, I couldn’t read mainstream articles, and to top it off, RAB was even tainted. Fuck the Blue Jays. I hope they find a way to finish in 9th place this year.

          • Get Phelps Up

            Well they’re in 14th place now… :)

            • jjyank

              9th in the division! You know what I meant.

          • Bob Buttons

            This pretty much sums up my situation. No ESPN, MLBN for me, I hate reading mainstream crap (since they are unfairly critical of the Yanks) and we had guys like stuart and dalelama hanging around.

            I hope their entire team gets fire-saled this winter.

        • Tom Q

          Well, it was a bit worse than standing pat — letting Martin and Swisher go (plus Soriano, though a Mo return offset that one) seemed to represent a downgrade. When the disastrous Spring of Injuries followed, it felt like the front office chose the wrong year to try and get by.

          I’ll freely admit: the 1-4 start seemed to me to be fairly indicative of how such a lineup of no-names and once-was’s would perform. I’ve been hugely and pleasantly surprised at how well they’ve played since (esp. during a month that on paper looked like a tough part of the schedule).

          • hogsmog

            Yeah I agree. Hafner, Wells, and Youk didn’t really seem like ‘standing pat’ until they all started on an unbelievable tear that, let’s be honest here, nobody saw coming.

            • Cool Lester Smooth

              Wells is the only one who is performing super far outside what was expected. Youk is playing like Youk, and Pronk is playing like Pronk.

              • forensic

                Hafner has a 211 OPS+ entering today, his highest by 30 over 2006.

                His BA is .002 off his career high set in 2004. His OBP is .006 off his career high set in 2006. His SLG is .068 above his career high set in 2006.

                I think it’s safe to say he’s pretty well out-doing the expectations given to him even in this stadium.

                • RetroRob

                  Yup. Players have hot, cold, and business-as-usual stretches. Many fans, however, are always focused on the negative, noting a hot player has to cool down, yet on the counter side they seem to assume cold players will never get hot.

                  Baseball is a marathon that plays out over six months and 162 games. The Yankees are getting what they need now, waiting for Tex, Granderson and eventually Jeter, and even hopefully A-Rod, return.

              • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

                Nobody expected Youk, after last season, to play like he is this year-let’s be honest.

                • RetroRob

                  Nothing surprises me about Youk or Hafner. I also expect both to get injured (Youk already has, and Hafner will) and Hafner is a streaky hitter. What he’s doing now is quite normal for him, just as it will be when he goes cold for three weeks straight too.

                  Wells has been more of a surprise out of the three. Really don’t know what to expect from him.

    • Anthony

      Head on over to bluebird banter for some good laughs.

  • Get Phelps Up

    Yankees 15-9
    Blue Jays 9-17

    Who was it that won the offseason again?

    • forensic

      They’re just an Astros team away from being the worst team in the AL. It’s a beautiful thing.

    • Dalek Jeter


  • Anthony

    We beat Verlander, we beat Price, we beat Dickey. Not too shabby.

    • Havok9120

      Nonsense. Everyone knows we can’t hit good pitching.

      • hogsmog

        Especially by just relying on the longball.

      • Anthony

        Heh, exactly the narrative I had in mind.

  • forensic

    Just looked back at that 1995 season. The Yankees lost the first game that season against the Jays, then won the next 12 straight against them to finish off the season (remember, that was the 144 game season). Seven of them were at home and five were on the road.

  • http://www.decandido.net Keith R.A. DeCandido

    Quoth Mike: “The Yankees used homers from Brennan Boesch and Lyle Overbay to win a game over reigning Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey on Sunday afternoon. Imagine if I had told you that like, 13 months ago. You would have thought I was crazy. I would have thought I was crazy. Yet, here we are.”

    Dude, if you’d told me that ONE month ago, I’d have thought you were crazy……….

    • Dalek Jeter

      If you had told me this before the game, I probably wouldn’t have believed you.

      • Bo Knows

        If you told me 5 minutes before it happened, I wouldn’t have believed it

        • ROBTEN

          If you tell me this tomorrow, I still won’t believe it.

          • Adam Parker

            Just forget it, don’t even tell me… i won’t believe you.

  • CONservative governMENt

    Pundits like that Axisa guy were constantly badmouthing the team, but I like this group of players and Granderson and Teixeira should help.

    • Kramerica Industries

      Aren’t politics a no-no here, especially with a not-so-thinly-veiled name such as that?

      • Havok9120

        That was only a temporary rule for the election season, and this guy rarely/never makes politics the forefront of his comments.

  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    You have to think sweep against Houston.

    • mustang

      Its baseball take nothing for granted.

  • http://RiverAvenueBlues Mississippi Doc

    I think we all need a dose of Rivera’s professionalism. It is a pleasure to watch a Yankees team that are actually underdogs win. But like Mo, lets keep cool heads; it’s a long season,

  • SeventhAce

    Still too many homeruns!

  • forensic

    Am I going insane or did the order of the posts just change?

    • Bob Buttons

      Might be a shared insanity.

  • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

    I never expect a sweep, so I’ll be perfectly happy with two out of three.

    • http://b-rar.tumblr.com Brendan

      We play today, we win today. Dassit.

  • http://www.penuel-law.com/ Cuso

    Let’s not all go Alex Cobb (a RHP we’re guaranteed to beat) in here and start guaranteeing sweeps of Houston.

    Let’s win tomorrow and go from there.

  • FIPster Doofus

    Toronto has been my designated “most hated team” for 2013 since the offseason. I’m absolutely loving the way things are going for the Jays so far, and I hope it only gets worse for them and their obnoxious fan base. This is why it was stupid for media and fans to crown a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs in 20 years. Then again, offseason champions are always anointed as special and rarely do they amount to anything. Prove something first.

    On the other hand, the picture of consistency – a team that has missed the playoffs once in 18 years – was mocked and dismissed coming into the season. I was guilty of dismissing them to some extent, feeling rare Yankees-related pessimism as a result of their offseason moves. But here we are with another really good team for which to root. If you’d have told me they’d start 15-9 without Teixeira, Granderson, Jeter and A-Rod, I never would have believed it. So much for treading water.

  • Swing Batter Swing

    The Jays got swept because of Encarnación’s stupid chicken wing thing when he hit a home run. Seriously, karma’s a b-word and the Jays bought it because of that doofus.

  • Negative nancy

    Mike, when is the negative attitude going to stop? I understand you have to write about the good and the bad, but Insufficient Phil? Best fastball he’s had in years. Of course he could have been better, what pitcher couldn’t ? He kept us in the game long enough. Yanks are on pace to win 101 games games but all you think about is their poor offseason. Doesn’t look so bad now does it? Cheer up, Yanks are playing well and reinforcements are on the way. Why did I ask so many questions in my comment?

    • forensic

      He didn’t say insufficient Phil, he said inefficient (though with a PH) Phil.

      There’s a huge difference there. There isn’t much argument that averaging 18.5 pitches per inning and only needing 6 innings to reach 111 pitches overall is inefficient for a starting pitcher.

      • The German

        If 90 % of you pitches are 4-Seamer, you will never get them unbalanced. My feeling was that every second pitch was fouled off.

      • Havok9120

        To be fair, Nix’s blown play cost him 20 more pitches and a run that inning.

        • forensic

          That wasn’t a blown play. He had no chance to get Encarnacion at first on it. He made it look even uglier by letting it roll halfway into LF, but he still doesn’t get the out in the first place.

          • Robinson Tilapia


      • Kosmo

        nowadays it seems like a lot of SP are throwing 100+ pitches through 5-6 innings.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I think I may have just heard you slightly come to his defense there.

  • DInnings

    A second sweep by the Yanks might be a little too much to ask for, as bad as the Astros are. I’d be happy with two out of three for 6-1 in the last two series.

    I hope Boston ends Toronto’s season as a postseason contender with a sweep even if the Yanks lose a game on them (Boston 3-0, Yanks 2-1.) Ideally Boston sweeps Toronto and the Yanks sweep Houston so Toronto is done at 12.5 games out of first place on May 2 as name me a team who was that many games out and won a wildcard slot (maybe one team did it but I doubt more than one did.)

  • RollingWave

    I’m not sure how the Marlins are managing to suck harder than the Astros, but from a talent POV they’re by far the worst team in baseball, you might pull some of the better teams from AAA or the NPB and play better.

    • Havok9120

      As long as Houston re-ups their committment to getting the strikeout record after last night’s meager 4 Ks, I’m fine with them only being the second worst team in the MLB.

  • Robinson Tilapia


    *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*

    Loved every bit of this sweep. I hope the rest of baseball sweeps them.

    I do hope Dickey’s OK. The man deserves none of this. I wish he was back in Queens.

  • CONservative governMENt

    As Sterling says, just keep winning series and you’ll be fine.

  • Mscott

    Verbatim Poll question from Bluebird Banter:

    How do you jump off the Bandwagon?

    __ Swan Dive
    __ Header
    __ Cannonball!!!
    __ Bellyflop
    __ Very Reluctantly
    __ Screaming and Crying with as little dignity as possible

    These guys are funny!