In a matchup of young starters, Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays came up victorious. Nathan Eovaldi showed flashes of brilliance early on, locating his fastball well and his secondary pitches fooled hitters, but a few mistakes to good hitters proved costly as he came away as the loser. With the exception of the fourth inning, the Yankee bats went mostly silent against Stroman, and New York dropped the series finale in the Rogers Centre.
Grounderfest in the Six
Marcus Stroman, only 24 years-old, is the Blue Jays ace and he will give Yankees fits for a long time. He can cut, sink, locate, etc., basically a lot of things you want from a pitcher. He also seems to be friendly with the 6 God so that’s pretty neat. Earlier today, the Phillies’ Vincent Velazquez struck out 16 in a C GSHO. Stroman mowed down the batters in a different way: weak contact.
The Yankees rallied to score a couple in the fourth. A-Rod got hit by the pitch and Mark Teixeira dunked a single to right. With one out, runners on first and second, Brian McCann hit a grounder to Ryan Goins, but the second baseman couldn’t handle it, loading the bases. With the count full, Carlos Beltran hit a grounder that he just beat out to avoid a double play. Also, the run scored and New York took a 1-0 lead.
They weren’t done scoring. Stroman walked Chase Headley to load the bases again, bringing up Starlin Castro. During the Castro at-bat, Stroman threw a sinker way low and Russell Martin – who was brilliant with blocking low pitches all series – let it pass towards the side for a wild pitch. 2-0 Yanks.
That was about the only blemish in Stroman’s outing. After walking Jacoby Ellsbury in the fifth, he did not allow a baserunner, retiring 11 straight batters until the end of his outing. Did I mention how efficient his pitching was? Stroman had a 17-2 GB/FB ratio, which is pretty darn neat. He pitched eight full innings and threw 98 pitches (66 for strikes). New York’s woes in RISP situations continued as well, as the lineup went 1-for-5 in scoring chances.
Temporarily Nasty Nate
Eovaldi had his splitter working tonight – at least early on. For the first four innings, he was the pitcher that many envisioned to be – a power guy with deadly secondary stuff.
For the first four innings, Eovaldi struck out five – all of them on breaking pitches (four splitters and a slider). His fastball worked pretty well to set the knockout secondary pitches up, which is pretty much a recipe for success for most ML pitchers. It was reminiscent of a lot of his outings during his hot second-half stretch in last season.
The bottom of fifth was a different story. With two outs and runner on, Kevin Pillar hit a double that put runners on second and third. Next up: Josh Donaldson. The reigning AL MVP tends to punish mistakes. Eovaldi hung a splitter up the zone and Donaldson did not miss any of it. He crushed it into the center field second deck for a 3-2 Jays lead – a sight that you’ll see in multiple end-of-the-year highlights for sure. 89 mph in, 111 mph out. Eovaldi hung another meatball up the zone the next inning. He threw a slider up the zone that Troy Tulowitzki didn’t miss for a solo homer. 4-2 Jays.
He entered the seventh inning, got two outs, but surrendered another XBH to Donaldson – a double. Joe Girardi pulled Eovaldi out of the game, ending an enigmatic start. Eovaldi’s line: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 8 K’s. The strikeout numbers are nice but the homework for Nasty Nate is to allow less mistake pitches.
Rest of the Game
Johnny Barbato relieved Eovaldi in the seventh and got out of it. He also pitched a scoreless bottom of the eighth. Overall, he picked up two strikeouts in 1.1 IP, bringing season totals to 4.2 IP with 7 K’s and 0.00 ERA. He may not be pitching in a glamorous role now (at least for this season, with Dellin Betances–Andrew Miller–Aroldis Chapman in back of the bullpen) but he’s slowly earning brownie points. As Mike pointed out earlier, he’s looking more like a keeper in the roster.
In the ninth, the Jays put in 21-year-old Roberto Osuna to close out the game and he was brilliant, retiring all three Yankee hitters for a save. 4-2 Toronto victory.
The four-five-six hitters of the Yankee lineup had a hit each. The rest? 0-for-18 with two walks and a HBP. It’s not what you want. A-Rod’s slow start worsened with his 0-for-3 performance, lowering his season avg. to .120 (.507 OPS).
Box Score, WPA, Highlights and Updated Standings
The Yankees come back home tomorrow and start a series versus the Mariners for this weekend. I’ll be at the Sunday game, excited to see Robbie Cano back in Bronx and hopefully much nicer weather than the opening series!