The smart thing to say about this series is that the Yankees still came away from it with 2 wins in 3 games and the division lead back, but after taking the first 2 and getting a really good start from Luis Severino, you wanted to be greedy and get the sweep. Severino definitely pitched well enough to get a win this afternoon, but an unfortunate outfield incident, a few bad pitches, and the offense falling victim to Drew Hutchison's bizarre homefield advantage combined to give Toronto something to show for themselves. Severino was filthy today. Absolutely filthy. And he did it all almost exclusively on his 4-seam fastball. He threw it to both sides of the plate and up and down in the zone, moving batters' feet and getting them to swing through a lot of pitches they couldn't keep up with. He mostly overpowered a lineup of dangerous power hitters and struck out 9 in his 6 innings of work.
The one bad patch he hit came in the bottom of the 3rd inning, when Carlos Beltran lost a 2-out flyball in the sun and couldn't make the pitch, continuing the inning. Severino hung a 2-strike slider to next batter Josh Donaldson that Donaldson hit to right for a single to keep the inning going, and he hung another to Jose Bautista a few pitches later that Bautista crushed for a 3-run home run to left. It was a devastating blow given the circumstances that led up to it. And as luck would have it, it was the death blow.
Because for some reason the perfectly mediocre Hutchison is really good pitching at home and he shut the Yankee lineup down for 7 innings. They only managed 3 hits against him and 2 of those came from Jacoby Ellsbury. His solo home run in the 6th represented the lone Yankee run of the day, and the only other batter to reach second base was Brian McCann on a double in the 7th. The Yankees didn't hit for average or power today, nor did they work counts or draw any walks. Hard to win when that happens, no matter how good your starter pitches or what plays your outfielders do or don't make.
- On the Beltran error/hit call, it's obviously a hit. Should he have caught the ball? Absolutely. Would he have if the sun didn't cause him to lose it? Guaranteed. But plays like that can't be called errors for that exact reason. It sucks that it puts the runs on Severino, but calling that an error is assuming he would have dropped the ball without the sun. That clearly wasn't the case.
- I didn't have a problem with the slider calls on those hits after the drop. Severino just throw 2 flat ones that fell right over the plate. It happens. Give the Jays' hitters credit for not missing them and curse the sun's existence.
- Here's my big takeaway from Severino's outing: 37 called or swinging strikes compared to 29 that were contacted. He throws it hard enough to throw it by guys and locates it well enough to get called strikes. The home plate ump's generosity helped a bit in that respect today, but you still gotta throw it close to get the call. Severino is the real deal.
- Ellsbury's homer was cranked. He's looked a lot better since getting that day off.
- A-Rod went 0-3 with 3 strikeouts and a walk. Bat still looks a tad slow.