You can't win 'em all. We all know that saying. Knowing that and knowing that the Yanks are still in first place after last night's loss should be enough to make this game not a big deal. But when you're losing because the 23-25th guys on your roster on playing in situations where they probably shouldn't be playing, that's frustrating. That's what happened last night and it was a waste of a gem start by Chase Whitley.
Whitley absolutely locked down the Toronto lineup over 7 innings. They picked up base hits here and there, but never sustained anything through the first 5. He had his command going, attacked the strike zone, and kept the Jays hitters guessing. He struck out Jose Bautista twice in a row the first 2 times he faced him, which is never something you expect to happen with Whitley.
The only real trouble came in the 6th when Devon Travis singled and Josh Donaldson doubled to start off the inning and set up the heart of the order. Whitley got Bautista out on a first-pitch groundout, struck out Edwin Encarnacion with a slider, and got Kevin Pillar to pop out to strand the runners. Big time grapefruits moment for Whitley and he made some big pitches to keep the Jays off the board.
That gave the Yankee lineup a chance to finally score a run after 6 scoreless frames of their own against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. The lineup was weaker than usual with Brian McCann and Mark Teixeira getting a day off, and it really did next to nothing. Even the run they scored in the 7th wasn't anything great. Carlos Beltran did the heavy lifting by doubling to lead off the inning, moving to third on a Stephen Drew groundout, and he scored on another groundout by Garrett Jones.
The bullpen has been worked hard lately and that left Joe a little shorthanded for the final few innings. He was saving Dellin Betances for the save with Andrew Miller unvailable and he decided to hand a 1-run game to Chris Martin in the 8th. Donaldson and Bautista singled off of him to set the table and Joe wasted no more time in getting Betances in there to put out the fire. He couldn't do that, surrendering a bloop double to Encarnacion down the left field line to tie the game. Pinch hitter Russell Martin drove in the winning runs on a hotshot down the third base line a few batters later. Chase Headley made a tremendous diving stop on the ball, but fired his throw a little low and Jones couldn't scoop it. Probably a play that Teix makes, but alas, Jones is no Teix.
- Unreal line for Whitley: 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K. Game of his life. Shame he didn't get the W last night, even if that stat doesn't mean much in the grand scheme, because he deserved it.
- And the whiffs, oh the whiffs. Whitley got 11 swinging strikes out 65 (16.9%), recorded 5 of his 6 strikeouts swinging, and made the Jays hitters look bad on some of them with some real nasty changeups and sliders. Stuff-wise, this was the best Whitley ever looked.
- Ellsbury (the double) and Brett Gardner (2 BB) were on base a combined 3 times in the 1-2 spots. The rest of the lineup got on base a combined 3 times and Chase Headley was responsible for 2 of them. Gotta get on base to score runs.
- Beltran's double was well hit and he jumped back up to .203 because of it. Can we call that a positive? I'm going to call that a positive.
- No disrespect to Chris Martin, but there was no reason for him to be in that game in that situation. This whole "Circle of Trust" thing with Joe is starting to get a little out of hand. Betances' results were mostly bad BIP luck and Garrett Jones being a bad first baseman. Martin's were mostly him being Chris Martin.