Do we really have to play this team eight more times?
Jose Bautista hit two more home runs -- or Jose Bautistas, as they have now been rechristened by me -- and drove in all three Jays runs as the Toronto Extra Base Hits once again beat the Yankees 3-2. Bautista now has a Major League-leading 40 home runs on the year, and six of those have come against the Yankees in 10 games. It might be time to just start intentionally walking this guy every at-bat for the remainder of the season.
Ivan Nova pitched admirably in his first career MLB start, throwing 5 1/3 innings of two-run ball, those two runs of course coming courtesy of a two-run Jose Bautista in the third inning. The Yankees actually led this game after a Robinson Cano RBI double in the first, and managed to tie it back up on a Jorge Posada double in the sixth, but that was about all the offense the Yankees could muster. Brandon Morrow was his usual beastly self, striking out 12 Yankees in a mere six innings, and all told Toronto pitching recorded 15 strikeouts. Yikes.
Kudos to Nova for wriggling out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the bottom of the first unscathed. It also seemed like Nova could've gone a bit deeper into the game -- he was pulled at only 76 pitches in the 6th -- but Joe Girardi decided to go with Boone Logan to face the lefties, but also because he felt Nova might've gotten a bit rattled after throwing a pitch high and tight to Bautista that Bautista didn't particularly like and then subsequently surrendering an infield base hit to Vernon Wells.
I don't typically like to harp on blown calls because it doesn't do anyone any good, but the Yankees got hurt pretty badly on a missed call in the third, incorrectly asserting that Mark Teixeira took his foot off the bag on a semi-wide throw from Eduardo Nunez and calling Yunel Escobar safe. This wouldn't have been quite as big a deal had it not been followed by a Jose Bautista.
Then in the ninth inning, with Robinson Cano working his way on as the potential tying run with a leadoff walk (and did you ever think you'd be reading those words with regards to Cano?), Curtis Granderson got called out on strikes on a pitch that was so far off the plate it may as well have been in the United States. The pitch was literally in the other batter's box. Nothing you can do about it, but it was just an absurdly horrendous call.
Despite the loss, I was encouraged by Nova's debut, and it's hard to ride the Yankees too hard given that the bottom third of the lineup was comprised of Nunez, Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli. The fact that they even scored two runs off of a pitcher of Morrow's caliber should be considered some sort of moral victory.
I also remain baffled that the Blue Jays aren't in the thick of the playoff hunt. Guess that's what happens when you roll over and die for the Red Sox. The Jays are a very strong team, and frankly right now Toronto scares me moreso than any of our prospective playoff opponents, especially in a short series. Ricky Romero-Brett Cecil-Shaun Marcum-Brandon Morrow? Yikes. Good thing they'll be watching the postseason from their couches.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
by Larry Koestler