Back to square one
Nathan Eovaldi continued the string of solid starting pitching performances and the offense provided key hits throughout the game as the Yankees would run their win streak to six games and climb back to .500 with a 6-0 shutout. Eovaldi would go six innings, giving up the only two hits the Jays would get, while striking out five. He would appear to be in for a grind ’em out type outing early on as he struggled to throw strikes. He would walk five on the night, but the Jays offense is in such a funk that they could not take advantage of it.
Eovaldi ran his record to 5-2 and has lowered his ERA to 3.95. His outing backed up a strong appearance last week where he gave up a lead off hit against the Diamondbacks, but retired the next 18 batters he faced. Eovaldi has gotten more than solid run support since being acquired by the Yankees, but his recent performances have been sterling. More of this, please.
Jacoby Ellsbury would get the party started right away making third on a misplayed ball in right by Jose Bautista. He would later score on a fielder’s choice. Carlos Beltran would continue his hot hitting with a solo home run in the fourth off of R.A. Dickey, his tenth of the season. Austin Romine would also contribute a couple of hits and an RBI.
The Yankee bullpen would finish off the game with three shutout innings. Dellin Betances would pitch the seventh with the team only up 2-0, but two runs scored in each of the next innings would eliminate the need for the last two pieces of the Big Three in the pen. Overall, just a solid performance from the Yankees in the series opener. They are now in third place in the division and if they can just keep the streak of series wins going, especially against division rivals, they can continue their climb to the top.
All Good Things Must Come to an End
The Blue Jays offense came to life on Wednesday night, especially in the later innings, and the win streak would come to an end for the Yankees. Ivan Nova wasn’t as dominant as recent starts, but still only trailed 3-1 after a Russell Martin sixth inning home run. Nova would actually get the first two outs of the seventh, but would leave after hitting Edwin Encarnacion in the foot.
Chasen Shreve would enter, but would promptly give up a two-run homer to left-handed hitting Michael Saunders. A double would lead to Martin’s second home run of the night, doubling his season’s total in only two innings. Nova would give up four runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts in 7.2 innings. Shreve would be placed on the DL with a shoulder issue. He has given up seven home runs in 19 innings of work in 2016.
Didi Gregorius would go 3-for-4 with a home run and Chase Headley would end up 2-for-3 with a home run and Austin Romine would add to the power with a pinch-hit home run, but it would be too big of a hole for the Yankees to climb out of. The Jays would take game two by a score of 8-4, and the Yankees would fall back to a game below .500.
C.C. and little else
Still looking for another series win, the Yankees turned to C.C. Sabathia for help on Thursday afternoon. The big left-hander more than did his part, but he got very little offensive support and a costly error proved to be huge.
Starlin Castro got things rolling with a solo home run in the first to put the Yankees up 1-0. A fielding error by Gregorius in the second led to two unearned runs and that would prove to be all the Jays would need. Sabathia was excellent in this one, going seven innings and giving up just the two hits, two unearned runs, and striking out seven. His season ERA has dropped to 2.83 and has been not only one of the team’s better arms, but has put up numbers almost as good as anyone in the league early on in the season.
The Yankees offense would do next to nothing against J.A. Happ after Castro’s home run and the Jays would add an insurance run in the ninth to take the finale, 3-1. The Yankees have now lost four consecutive series at home to Toronto. They had a definite opportunity on Thursday to win the series and Sabathia was more than up to the task.
After three games at home, the Yankees will hit the road for Memorial Day weekend to take on the Tampa Bay Rays. Now that the starting pitching is really starting to come around, the offense just needs to start clicking on a consistent basis. Injuries sprinkled throughout the lineup have been a thorn in the side offensively, and don’t seem to be getting any better as Mark Teixeira has missed the past two games, just as Alex Rodriguez makes his return from the DL.