About Last Night: Yankees 2, Blue Jays 0
The New York Yankees defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in the first game of three in Toronto by a score of 2-0, improving to 80-77 on the season. While the Yankees may be out of the playoffs, these are crucial games for Toronto, who are fighting to retain their Wild Card spot.
W: Jhony Brito (9-7): 2 IP, 1 H, 1 BB, 1 K
L: Jordan Romano (5-6): 1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 2 K
S: Clay Holmes (23): 1 IP, 1 H
The Yankees have been eliminated from playoff contention, but the team started off its final week of the season in hopes of finishing strong. Kevin Gausman’s previous start came last week against the Yankees, when he delivered six shutout innings at Yankee Stadium. Michael King pitched in the same game, and while he did not have a shut out, he gave the Yankees seven strong innings of one-run ball. Last night’s pitching matchup was a rematch of Sept. 20.
Similarly, it did not disappoint. Both pitchers ran into some trouble at certain spots in the game, but were able to make it out of their respective innings with no damage done. Gausman gave the Blue Jays seven scoreless innings and was replaced by Erik Swanson in the 8th, while King pitched six scoreless innings and was replaced by Brito. The game was tied at 0-0 heading into the 9th inning.
After Gleyber Torres reached on a single in the 9th, Austin Wells hit an opposite-field two-run home run off Blue Jays’ closer Romano to put the first runs of the game on the board and give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. All three of Wells’ Major League home runs have come in the past week, so it seems as if he started to find his power stroke. More importantly, it seems as if he is hitting the ball better as of late.
Clay Holmes came into the game in the bottom of the inning to close out the game for the Yankees. While he did allow a runner to reach base, bringing the tying run to the plate, Holmes was able to work his way out of trouble for his 23rd save of the season.
Player of the Game:
Wells gave the Yankees the only two runs of the game with his clutch home run in the 9th.
Both pitching staffs did a tremendous job. Even though Romano allowed the two runs, holding a team to two runs in a game is never a bad night. It just so happened to be that the Yankees’ pitchers performed better.
Better to Forget:
This is one that Romano would absolutely love to forget. As mentioned, the Blue Jays currently hold a Wild Card spot, but they are not in a comfortable position to where it cannot be taken from them. From this point out, the Blue Jays need every single game to end with a win.
Even though the Yankees cannot make the playoffs, it’s still fun to see if they can mess some other teams up. We’ve already seen them hurt the Arizona Diamondbacks with taking two of three games this past weekend, and now it’s time to see if they can inflict some damage on Toronto.
First, I have to tip my cap to Gausman. He has given the Yankees a fit for many years, but it has really been noticeable since he joined the Blue Jays a couple of years ago. He’s got a fantastic arsenal of pitches that has given many players problems.
However, King has proven that he can not only be a starter for the Yankees, but that he can be a No. 2 or No. 3 pitcher in the rotation. The Yankees were concerned about next season’s rotation, especially since pitchers such as Luis Severino and Frankie Montas are set to become free agents, but the status of Nestor Cortes Jr. and Carlos Rodon remains to be seen in regards to if they can find success again. King may possibly get one more start this weekend, likely in the last game, so we may be able to get an additional sample of King as a starter this season.
Also, Wells is starting to show some signs of life at the plate. He’s been hitting much more consistently over the past 10 days or so and has also shown some signs of power. While the power isn’t a big concern for me, it’s good to see him start to have productive at-bats. These next five games will be extremely important for him.
At this point in the season, it’ll be good to see the Yankees finish strong. Sure, it sounds like that high school mentality that no matter how down you are, also finish strong. But, it will be an important few games remaining for several players on the team that are trying to cement a role on the 2024 Opening Day roster. However, the Yankees are one win away from avoiding a losing season, which at some points throughout the season seemed as if it wouldn’t be accomplished. But, it is definitely possible that it will.
Overall, it was a nice win for the Yankees last night. Hopefully, they continue to give the Blue Jays and headache and maybe cause major changes in the Wild Card race.
The Yankees will be back in action tonight against the Blue Jays, with a start time of 7:07 p.m. EST. Gerrit Cole is scheduled to start for the Yankees, while Jose Barrios is scheduled to start for the Blue Jays.