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Blue Jays 7, Yankees 5…
I was hoping for better results last night with Big Mike on the mound. The Yankees tried a valiant comeback with a couple of two-run home runs but it was not enough.
The Yankees were in an early hole when the Blue Jays scored three runs off Pineda in the first. Josh Donaldson homered with one out and no one on. After getting Joey Bats for the second out, Pineda walked Kendrys Morales. That brought up Justin Smoak, who is having a breakout year at age 30. Unfortunately, Smoak smoked the ball to right center and I was having visions of Pineda from years past.
The Blue Jays picked up a couple of more runs in the third and fourth innings to lead 5-0 when the Yankees began their comeback in the sixth. Gary Sanchez led off with a single and Aaron Judge followed with his 18th homer. It ended Francisco Liriano’s start. Reliever Danny Barnes walked Matt Holliday on a 3-2 count and the next batter up, Starlin Castro, brought the Yankees to within a run at 5-4 with a homer to right center.
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The Blue Jays came right back in the bottom of the sixth when Donaldson hit his second homer of the night, a solo shot.
The Yankees scored a run in the seventh when Matt Holliday doubled to score Aaron Judge who had walked in the previous at-bat. But again, the Blue Jays answered in the bottom of the frame. After Justin Smoak reached first on an error charged to Chris Carter (Yankees challenged the play and lost), Troy Tulowitzki doubled to push Smoak to third. Devon Travis then hit a sac fly to score Smoak, bringing the score to 7-5.
From there, the Yankees were unable to mount any threats against the Blue Jays bullpen and it was game over.
It was a disappointing start by Michael Pineda (6-3). He went five innings, giving up 10 hits and 5 runs. He walked 3 batters while only striking out one. He was unable to overcome that first inning breakdown when he allowed the two home runs. Of course, it didn’t help that neither Jonathan Holder nor Adam Warren were able to deliver clean innings.
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The Yankees (31-21) remain in first place in the AL East, but the Baltimore Orioles did pick up a game and leap frogged Boston with a 3-2 win over the Red Sox. The Orioles are 2 1/2 games back, while the Red Sox remain 3 games behind. The Blue Jays may be in last place but they are just 5 1/2 games behind the leaders. The only division that is tighter is the NL Central where the first place Milwaukee Brewers lead the last place Pittsburgh Pirates by only four games. It must be nice to be a Houston Astros or Washington Nationals fan with double digit leads over their closest competitors. One day, it will be our time to shine.
Odds & Ends…
The rumors of Gleyber Torres to the Bronx seem to be picking up steam. I don’t think he’s ready yet, but reports are indicating that we could see Torres as early as next month. There’s no doubt the kid has maturity beyond his years and is a special talent, but I feel that he is an asset for opening in Spring 2018. The lackluster play of Chase Headley, of course, is forcing acceleration of the plan. At AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Torres is currently batting .212 (7-for-33). In last night’s 7-5 win over the Toledo Mud Hens, Torres was 1-for-4 with a single and a run scored. Two of his outs were by strikeout, and he walked once. He was charged with a fielding error, his fourth at AAA.
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It appears that ultimately this may come down to a choice between Tyler Austin or Torres. If Torres is called up, Headley becomes the backup first/third baseman. If Austin comes up, he backs up Greg Bird at first, with Ronald Torreyes remaining the primary backup at third for Headley. None of these scenarios bode well for Chris Carter. We still have the potential problem at first (what if Bird continues to struggle when he returns) but there’s clearly some difficult decisions looming on the horizon.
Austin was 1-for-4 (single) for the RailRiders yesterday.
All he does is friggin’ win. The story of Chance Adams is amazing. In a short time, he’s become a minor league legend. Since being drafted in the fifth round in 2015, he’s 23-3 with 1.96 ERA in 34 games started covering 220 2/3 innings. He has struck out 248 batters. In the 2015 MLB Draft, current Yankees pitching prospect Dillon Tate was the fourth overall selection by the Texas Rangers. Adams wasn’t chosen until 149 picks later. 2015 was the year the Yankees chose James Kaprielian as their first round choice. We know the talent that Kaprielian possesses but staying healthy has been another matter. Before the Yankees took Adams, they chose two other pitchers after Kaprielian…Jeff Degano and Drew Finley. In a do-over, I think you’d take Adams over any of the three or four if you threw in Tate. I still have high hopes for Kaprielian, but there is so much to be excited about Adams. I liked the quote from AA-Trenton Thunder manager Bobby Mitchell, “He is just a big leaguer in the making”. The finished product is probably not too far away.
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In AAA transactions on Friday, the RailRiders released LHP Jason Gurka. Gurka was signed as a minor league free agent in December 2016. He appeared in a few Spring Training games, but wasn’t going to be an arm for consideration at the big league level. For the RailRiders, he was 0-0 with 5.40 ERA in 16 2/3 innings. He did strike out 20 batters so I am sure that he’ll get a look by another organization. Best of luck to him.
Have a great Saturday! Go Yankees!