Yankees Offense Unable to Pick Up Tanaka Against the Blue Jays
There have been too many occasions in which the Yankees have won on the strength of a late rally. This time, the Bombers failed to mount a rally.
A .083 batting average with runners in scoring position and a four-run fifth inning by the Blue Jays against Masahiro Tanaka was enough to sink the Yankees in Toronto by a score of 4-3 last night. The loss is the second in a row for the Yankees, the first time the Bombers had lost consecutive games since losing a two-game series against the Diamondbacks in early April.
The Yankees were hitless in eight at-bats with runners in scoring position over the final five innings of the game. Several key moments and performances from the Blue Jays’ relievers prevented New York from making a comeback.
In the fifth, with two outs, Gary Sanchez doubled to the left centerfield wall with Luke Voit on first. Almost any other runner on the team would have scored on that play. Voit had a small lead off first and his lack of speed most likely cost his team a run. Aaron Hicks then flied out to centerfield to end the threat.
The Yankees were in a better position in the sixth inning, when Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier walked to start the frame. However, reliever Daniel Hudson of Toronto got the better of the Bombers, retiring Gio Urshela, Cameron Maybin, and Brett Gardner in order.
The most frustrating failure came in the seventh inning. Gary Sanchez was up with DJ LeMahieu on second with one out. On a full-count pitch, Sanchez hit a ground ball to shortstop Freddy Galvis. Instead of taking the out at first, Galvis caught LeMahieu in-between and threw behind him for the out. To make matters worse, second baseman Eric Sogard then threw to first to retire Sanchez for an inexplicable double-play. That play defined the night for the Yankees.
A night where it seemed that Masahiro Tanaka was going to carry his team to an easy win. The right-hander was cruising through four innings, retiring 11 Jays in a row at one point and displaying his pinpoint command. However, the Blue Jays woke up in the fifth inning, erupting with two home runs and a double to score four runs. The crushing blow came off the bat of Galvis. His full-count, two-run home run gave Toronto a lead they would never relinquish.
However, that one inning should not have cost Tanaka. The Bombers had opportunities to pick up their starter and the Toronto bullpen prevented New York from coming back in the game. Blue Jay relievers struck out six batters in 4.1 innings. For one night, the Yankees were bested by an opposing bullpen.
The one hit with a runner in scoring position was an especially thunderous one. Clint Frazier deposited a two-run home run into the second-deck in left field off Toronto starter Clayton Richard to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead in the fourth.
The homer was especially poignant after Frazier’s recent run-in with (or run-away from) the media. After a rough defensive game in right field Sunday night, Frazier declined to speak with the media, leading to an onslaught of stories and speculation about the young outfielder.
Before Tuesday’s game, Frazier did speak with reporters in a raw session, in which Frazier criticized the media for unproper coverage.
Frazier has worked hard this season but needs to keep his emotions in check if he wants to stay in New York. His home run last night was a great response to the criticism he’s taken and, hopefully, another step forward in the 24-year old’s growth.
SHAKE IT OFF:
While they had a mediocre showing last night, the Yankees can afford a loss or two. They are coming off the heels of winning nine consecutive series, the first time the Bombers have done so since 1998 – a pretty special year for New York. Even against a weaker Toronto team, losing one game is not going to keep them out of the playoffs. Tomorrow, if they show up to support James Paxton in his return to his home country, then all of the struggles they had with runners in scoring position tonight will be a blip on the radar. Or, if Paxton throws like he did in his last start in Toronto, the Yankees may be able to take it easy.