Monday, June 7, 2010

Guest Post: Breaking Down The Yanks-Jays Series

Hideous, brutal, atrocious, horrid.

Just about any of the preceding adjectives could describe the quality of play the Yankees brought into Toronto for the first 29.5 innings of baseball across the border. The Blue Jays brought the heat and took two out of three from the defending world champions. And let’s be honest, the Yankees are extremely fortunate to have escaped with that one win.

A.J. Burnett got the nod on Friday and was welcomed back to his home of three years to the tune of 6 earned runs over 6 innings pitched. He didn’t help his cause much by allowing 4 walks in addition to surrendering 6 hits. “Bad A.J.” lived up to his name as the inconsistent hurler was missing his spots all night. And Jose Bautista made sure Burnett knew it, too. Bautista continued his amazing tear by blasting a solo shot and two-run homer in his first two at bats. While the Blue Jays never seemed overpowering, they sure packed a punch when they needed to.

Unfortunately, the Yankee offense (1st in average, 2nd in RBI, 3rd in hits) was virtually lifeless. Toronto’s trio of Cecil, Romero and Morrow made the Yankees look like a minor league affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. They combined to pitch 23 innings only allowing 14 hits, 6 walks, 4 earned runs while racking up 20 strikeouts

Meanwhile, Yankee pitching on Saturday and Sunday was phenomenal. Andy Pettitte continued the best start of his glorious career by going 7.2 innings allowing 2 runs on 5 hits while striking out 10. Pettitte has always been regarded as a stopper when the Yankees are on a losing streak and he certainly pitched that way on Saturday. The bullpen was spectacular as well, but to expect more than 5 scoreless innings out of them would simply be unrealistic.

Expecting more out of Javier Vazquez would be impractical as well. To all those that have doubted him due to his poor start to the season, please attempt to nitpick him now. Vazquez tossed a gem yesterday and has done more than his fair share in keeping the Yankees competitive in each of his last 6 outings. In fact, his ERA over the past 6 outings is a 2.72. Subtract his poor start in Minnesota, the ERA drops to 1.72.

These statistics are sure to stifle due to the irony…
  • Yankees’ batting average over the weekend: 19 for 109 (.174)
  • Teixeira and Rodriguez combined average: 4 for 28 (.125) 10 K’s
  • Yankees with RISP through the first 29.5 innings: 2 for 28 (.071)
  • Bullpen ERA from the weekend: 2.04
But as quickly as the Yankee offense can go dormant, it is capable of suddenly waking and creating havoc. When all hope seemed lost and the Yankees were looking like they would be swept back into the good old USA, they found their footing. The Yankees scored more runs in the last 2 innings of baseball in Toronto than the first 29.5 innings total. With Jeter and Cano coming up clutch, the Yankees finally capitalized by going 2 for 2 with RISP. The Bombers would salvage the final game by pushing across 4 runs in the eighth.

Believe it or not, since the start of 2006 the Yankees are 20-20 at the Rogers Centre. That means the Yankees had a losing record at the Rogers Centre heading into yesterday’s action. The Yankees are also only a mediocre 16-15 away from the fabled “Big Ballpark in the Bronx” this season.

Despite all of this, the Yankees remain 2 games behind the Rays for 1st in the AL East and 2.5 games ahead of Boston and Toronto in the Wild Card. They are thrilled to travel south to Baltimore to take on the streaking Orioles. The Yankees have tallied up 49 runs against the O’s in 9 games and look to bring back that type of offense as well as fatten their road record starting at 7:05pm on Tuesday.

Final scores of the three games:
  • Friday, June 4th – Toronto 6, New York 1
  • Saturday, June 5th – Toronto 3, New York 2 (F/14)
  • Sunday, June 6th – New York 4, Toronto 3
By: Chris McKeown

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