The Slide Continues: Yankees no match for Blue Jays in series opener

Jagielo's big night helps SI to blowout win
This should be the end of the line for Hughes

Three losses in four games was not part of the “crawl back into the postseason picture” plan, especially since it could have very easily been four losses in four games. The Yankees lost just their second game of the season to the Blue Jays on Monday night, dropping what felt like a lopsided 5-2 contest.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

No Chance To Win Every Fifth Day
After two straight quality starts, Phil Hughes went back to being one of the very worst pitchers in all of baseball on Monday night. He allowed five runs in 4.2 innings of work, though, to be fair, one run scored when Kevin Pillar managed to bloop a two-out single to center on a pitch that was basically in the dirt. Another one or two came across after Ichiro Suzuki dropped a hard-hit but very catchable fly ball in right. Still, Hughes was awful. Seven hits, three walks, three strikeouts, couldn’t get out of the fifth awful. Awful. AwPhil.

Journeyman left-hander David Huff picked up the rest of the bullpen with some high-quality long relief after that, holding the Blue Jays to one walk and no hits in 3.1 scoreless innings. He struck out five and recorded eight of his ten outs on the infield. Between this game and last week’s relief appearance, Huff has held Toronto to one hit in 8.1 scoreless innings in his last two outings. That’s pretty awesome. Unsurprisingly, Joe Girardi was non-committal when asked if Huff would take Hughes’ spot in the rotation. That decision wasn’t going to be made in the five minutes between the 27th out and the post-game interview. The Yankees obviously should consider it though.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

Oh Yeah They Only Scored Two Runs
Regardless of what happened on the mound, it’s really hard to win when you only score two runs. The first run was all about Brett Gardner‘s speed. He drew a walk to start the game, moved up to second on a passed ball, moved over to third on Derek Jeter‘s slow ground ball to short, then scored on Robinson Cano‘s grounder to second. Hooray smallball, I guess. Alex Rodriguez created the second run with one swing — he hit a solo homer to right to leadoff the fifth. For the fourth straight game, the Yankees scored no more than three runs.

The Bombers had a chance to really blow this one open in that fifth inning, after A-Rod homered. Two singles (Ichiro and Gardner) and a walk (Jeter) loaded the bases with two outs for Cano, exactly the guy the Yankees wanted at the plate. Robbie’s been killin’ the ball lately, and he hit one of R.A. Dickey’s knuckleballs really hard … just not hard enough. The inning ended on a loud fly ball to deep center field. Cano was picking on the wrong part of the park. Alex’s blast knotted the game at two, but after that inning, just three of the final 15 men they sent to the plate reached base.

Really looking forward to 2014 Vernon Wells, you guys.

Jeter’s return was mostly forgettable. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, a strikeout, and a double play at the plate while not being tested with anything more than a routine play at shortstop. Jeter did see 20 pitches in four at-bats though, which is nice. The Yankees lacked team plate discipline and the willingness to work the count for the first four months of the season. They’ve gotten that element back in recent weeks, at least somewhat.

Two round number milestones in this game. First, A-Rod’s homer was the 650th of his career, making him the fifth player in history to go deep that many times. He was also the fifth player to homer 649 times, but that’s besides the point. Second, Gardner’s fifth inning single was the 500th hit of his career. A whole lot of players have done that. Still pretty cool though. Congrats to both.

Curtis Granderson and Alfonso Soriano both singled and stole bases. Soriano swiped third for the second straight game. Austin Romine also singled and walked. He’s up to .233/.280/.322 (63 wRC+) on the year, which is pretty amazing considering how terrible he was prior to the All-Star break (-2 wRC+!). The kid needs to play everyday. Every single day.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
For the box score and video highlights, is the place to go. FanGraphs and ESPN have some other stats and the updated standings, respectively. The Athletics beat the Tigers, so the Yankees are again five games back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column. Cool Standings has their postseason odds at 7.6%. It’s getting late early, folks.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
Same two teams on Tuesday night, the middle game of the three-game set. Lefties Andy Pettitte and J.A. Happ will match up for the second time in less than a week.

Jagielo's big night helps SI to blowout win
This should be the end of the line for Hughes
  • dasani

    Phil Hughes is killing us. Cashman should do all of us a favor and make him a free agent now. Your suppose to have a big season in your walk year, I bet Hughes agent squirms every time he takes the mound.

    • dan2

      not satisfied with Phil by a long shot, but his miserable post all star game era of 594 is sure better than CC’s 730.
      We have serious rotation problems. Why the free pass for the pitching coach. No one has goten better during his tenure and Nova had to go to AAA to get turned around.

  • Matt DiBari

    There’s no chance they replace Phil. None.

    We’re riding this Hughes/Chamberlain train to the sad, bitter end.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Replace him in the rotation? I think there’s a better chance than “none” there.

      Replace him on the roster? Of course not.

      • Matt DiBari

        The rotation. We’ve been pretending that this is working all year (well, for several years, actually) and I really can’t see this being the last straw.

        • RetroRob

          He was a league-average starter last year on his way to 16 wins, and a slightly above league average starter in 2010 on his way to 18 wins. He was exceptional out of the pen in 2009. So I don’t think they were pretending. He was just never as good as we all hoped.

          He has sucked the last two months and I do think they should flip Huff and Hughes for the reasons you mentioned. There is no room for error and chances are Hughes would strengthen the team by leaving the rotation and then becoming a plus reliever.

    • Kevin G.

      Take him out and go full YOLO-mode with the other four starters going on three days rest for the last month of the season. I’m sure Old Hoss Radbourn would approve

      • ropeadope

        At this stage of their careers, don’t believe three days rest would be effective for Kuroda, Pettitte, and Sabathia. I’d put the four man rotation into supernova mode, having Nova pitch every other game thusly:

        Nova, Kuroda, Nova, Sabathia, Nova, Pettitte, Nova ……

        Hughes to the pen to bolster the relief corps.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Not much to say. Hughes was terrible. Dickey was on. Sure, there’s time, but wasted games like this will run out the clock eventually, and not in a good way.

    Just a sad shit ending to Hughes’s Yankee career. Never what I pictured.

    Lightning in a bottle with Huff? Not buying it, but worth a shot, I guess?

    • trr

      Dickey was excellent tonight. Nothing much you can do about it.
      Hughes pitched poorly, again, and the only reason he ‘s still in the rotation is that there’s no other viable option to replace him. I’m not a Cashman hater, but they should have acquired other MLB ready pitchers ( Haren? Bud Norris?) long before now

  • JD

    Mike, isn’t it funny that you spent a year and a half running down Nova and suggesting Phil was much better

    • Mike Axisa

      Hughes was much better from the start of 2012 through mid-2013.

  • Pat D

    I’m over Hughes at this point. Just…so…over.

    Watch him go like 12-10 with a 3.50 ERA in San Fran next year. Why not a better win-loss record? Because the Giants still can’t score runs.

  • forensic

    I hate Phil-Day.

  • forensic

    That gif and caption should be removed. It’s just mean and depressing to see that over and over.

    • Wheels

      It’s almost fascinating. It’s like he made up his mind beforehand that he was gonna strike out.

    • your mom

      That swing was Pedro Cerrano bad.

      • Pedro Cerrano

        I ask Jobu to come, take fear from bats. I offer him cigar, and rum. He will come.

        • trr

          well he better get here soon

  • ialien

    i’m really grateful the leadership decided to chase a 2% chance at a playoff spot at the expense of better draft positioning.

    i mean it was fun to watch the yanks torch the worst pitching staffs in baseball, but it was fools gold. as one can see from the last 4 games, this team is useless when facing a quality starter.

    maybe we can finally start talking about how to get this club back into being competitive in 2015. its not happening next month or next year with 189M as the cap.

    amazing that nobody talks about the way the steinbrenners have deliberately damaged this team in the name of higher profits through the cap rules. its like the movie major league is really happening.

    • Pat D

      You’re confusing the Yankees with the Marlins again.

    • Anderson Silva

      One can argue that leadership actually assembled this team to get a better draft position with the signing of Ichiro, trade for Wells, not going after Martin etc. It feels like Cashman and Co. have done everything in their power to lose as many games as possible with the way this team was built.

      • your mom

        Unfortunately that better draft positioning won’t happen this year, just for, oh, the next 2-4 years after 2014 when we’ll be picking in the top 20 annually.

        • your mom

          Well, I stand corrected, if we don’t make the playoffs we have a top 20 pick for 2014 too.

    • Kenny

      A lot of guys have complained about the Steins and their “cap.” Anyway, what’s the beef? There’s lots of Steins in the Y’s front office. You begrudging them a high standard of living?

    • dan2

      look at the potential free agents after this season. See any way to spend more than $189 million? See any way to spend even close to $189 million?
      When you have an unlimited budget you make bad decisions, not necessarily improve the team. no budget means pronk rather than giving a kid a chance. it means being bluffed by Arod in contract extensions. It means renewing CC. It means overpaying Jeter. $189 is the best thing to happen to this team in years.

  • M&M Boys

    In order to get compensation round draft picks for Hughes & Joba, is it correct that the Yankees must make each a qualifying offer of a one-year contract for about $14 million? If so, they have to risk each player turning down the offer and then signing elsewhere. Being stuck with those losers and using up $28 million of the $189 million “cap” for 2014 would be nightmare.

    • forensic

      Yes, that is correct.

      I don’t even consider it for either one, and I’m sure the Yankees won’t even think about it for Joba. As for Hughes, I’m hopeful they won’t risk wasting that money but I’m not really sure what they’ll do.

  • dc1874

    Cant wait to have old Stewie boy behind home plate tomorrow!!

  • Chris

    Yeah, the Steinbrenners deliberately spent $225 million not to make the playoffs and damage the team. That makes sense.

  • Brian Strawman

    All but officially done in time for Labor Day weekend.

  • jim p

    21 July August games:
    Post-All Star Game

    (A much-more tired) Stewart: 37 games. .184/.250/.239/.489
    Post-All Star Game

    Mr Girardi, please, please, just tell us what we’re missing here?

    • BigDavey88

      Stewie is a professional ball player that plays the game the right way. Duh.

      Did I mention he’s white and gritty? Something something hustle.

      • Travis L.

        What does “white” have to do with anything?? Who gives a shit whether he’s white, black, yellow, green or brown? It doesn’t make a damn bit of difference. Stewart is worse than Romine. period.

        • BigDavey88


    • 461deep

      Jays pitching collasped this year mostly from injuries. Also Reyes, Bautista & Lawrie out for lengthy spells hurt them as well. But they do have hitters that can hurt you and win games if they get a far to unlikely a decently pitched game.
      Hughes no home runs tonight but many a laced double plus a hard hit liner that had bobbing Ichiro out of sync enough to get the old off the hel big E.
      Derek a walk and nada. Andy needs to have his DP working tomorrow. Happ very hitable no juice lunch tomorrow that older hitters love.

  • Darren

    Yeah they played bad, but Dickey was on. What are you gonna do against the knuckleball?

    But the ups and downs of the comments is hilariously emotional, like a bunch of Katy Perrys up in here.

    Just try and stay positive for another few weeks, we’re not 10 back, ok? Literally one more hot streak and we’re in first for the wild card. Damn, people, have some faith!

  • EndlessMike

    The only thing to look forward too is the Indians, Orioles and A’s are not doing well either and aren’t much better than the Yankees.

    Yet the Yankees need to beat up on A.L East teams as over half of there next games are against them.

    • Kenny

      Trouble is that the Ys have a losing record against the East, except for the Jays. No sign yet that they can “beat up” on these teams. They’re in a tight spot.

  • Kosmo

    I wonder if NY put in a waiver claim for Kendrys Morales ?

  • mt

    I guess our success in games started by Cy Young pitchers has taken a (hopefully brief) holiday this week (we beat Dickey last week but have since lost to Price and Dickey). I am sure we will see Price and Dickey again this year.

    Yes, Hughes is horrible, but scoring two runs a game will not cut it. We better get it together soon since we play O’s next. I want to at least be within striking distance of second wild card when we play Red Sox and O’s 11 straight in early September.

  • Kenny

    Take away those 10 wins over the Jays, and the Ys have a piss poor record. If the Jays-worm turns this week, the Ys are dead meat.

  • Monterowasdinero

    Phil tips off his pitches.


    • Pasqua

      Flat fastballs in the strike zone don’t need to be “tipped-off.”