Like it’s always been said, any game with this Toronto Blue Jays team is never going to be easy. After winning a fun one yesterday, the Yankees went down rather haplessly tonight 7-2. On a positive note: Michael Pineda looked much better tonight and, well, Ronald Torreyes kept hitting. It was largely unspectacular, let’s go with that.
Unlike against the Astros, Pineda had his slider working tonight. Especially early on, he really had it going, showing a very sharp downward movement that made it near impossible for hitters to catch up.
— MLB GIFS (@MLBGIFs) April 14, 2016
That doesn’t mean his outing went all too well though. In the second, the Jays drew first blood. With two outs with Russell Martin at first, Pineda uncorked a fastball right down the middle to Ryan Goins that got clobbered to right-center for an RBI double. 1-0 Toronto.
Ryan Goins struck again in the fifth. Pineda walked Justin Smoak to start the inning. Goins saw the first pitch fastball and drove it towards the left field fence for a double. With runners on second and third, Torreyes bounced a throw to first on a Kevin Pillar grounder and Mark Teixeira couldn’t handle it: an E-6 and a 2-1 Jays lead. With runners on first and third, Josh Donaldson grounded into the double play to make it two outs but a runner came home for a 3-1 Toronto lead anyways.
His final line – 6.0 IP, 5 H, 3 R (2 ER) 3 BB, 6 K – is not his best nor worst line but I’ll say this: he gave Yankees a chance to win today. Unfortunately, their bats did not come up potent against J.A. Happ tonight.
The Few Activities of Yankee Bats
J.A. Happ wasn’t spectacular – he allowed ten baserunners in six innings pitched – but he did the job. He induced two double plays, struck out four (including A-Rod twice), did not give up big hits with RISP, etc. It remains to be seen if his late-season performance boost with the Pirates is fluke or not (7-2 with 1.85 ERA) but if his adjustments hold true long-term, the Jays have themselves a nice starter.
In the top of fifth, Torreyes led off with a double past third base. Austin Romine hit a single to center that put the runners on first and third with no out. Jacoby Ellsbury popped out innocuously to third but Aaron Hicks hit an RBI ground out to drive a run in, 1-1. A run engineered by Torreyes and Romine, how about that?
The Yankees got a run back in the eighth against the former Yankee draftee Drew Storen (34th rounder in 2007). With one out, Teixeira hit a fastball right down the middle to the right field foul pole to make it 3-2.
And well, those were all the scoring activities they had. The Bombers hit 1-for-7 in RISP situations tonight, leading to seven runners left on base in total. That’s not what you want. There are nights where you score sixteen runs and there are those where you go away quiet like this. It’s baseball.
Digging the Hole
Right after the Yankees scored a run in the top of eighth, they allowed much more. Joe Girardi turned to Ivan Nova for the bottom of eighth. Nova, on his previous appearance, threw for a pretty solid four-inning save. Tonight, nothing went right for him.
On the first pitch, he allowed a double to Donaldson. A wild pitch advanced the reigning AL MVP to third but it didn’t matter – Jose Bautista snared a double to drive him in. Nova retired Edwin Encarnacion on a ground out but Troy Tulowitzki singled to right to bring Bautista home. Michael Saunders banged a double off the left field wall to put two runners in the scoring position and both of them came in with a Russell Martin sac fly and Ryan Goins RBI single. When it was all said and done: a four-run inning and a 7-2 Jays lead.
On the next frame, former Yankee farmhand Pat Venditte came in and threw a three-up-three-down frame to end the game.
How about Ronald Torreyes? As Michael Kay said “He’s a hitting machine!” Tonight, he went for 2-for-4, bringing his season average to .667 with an OPS of 1.667. I can’t say I’m confident that he’ll keep it going but he’s making a nice case for a long-term roster spot.
A bullpen arm who pitched tonight not named Ivan Nova – Kirby Yates – threw a solid scoreless inning tonight. Yates came in the bottom of seventh, threw 14 pitches and struck out two. He was the only Yankee pitcher tonight that retired Ryan Goins (went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI’s tonight) when he struck out the Jays second baseman on three pitches, therefore earning a temporary superhero status.
Box Score, WPA, Highlights and Updated Standing
The series tied at 1-1, so you know what that means. Tomorrow’s game will be a rubber match between the Yankees and Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound against Marcus Stroman. It should be a fun one.