Tonight’s game between the Jays and the Yankees started with rain looming, and for once it wasn’t referring to Josh Donaldson home runs. After an early outburst of power from the home side, the game was interrupted by rain, with the Jays down a bunch of runs and the offense seeming listless again. The change in weather brought the thunder from Toronto, as the Jays rallied against the Yankees bullpen, taking the lead in a eight-run eight inning that gave them an eventual 12-6 victory.
The Jays may have been optimistic, seeing Michael Pineda and his 5.04 ERA on the schedule. Given their recent strikeout woes, however, Pineda’s 10.4 Ks per 9 innings might have given them some pause. It wasn’t the strikeouts that made the Jays struggle, but they were just unable to string together much against Pineda, only getting four hits against him in five innings despite only striking out twice. The rain delay removed Pineda from the game, and provided the Blue Jays new life. They quickly got to work on reliever Anthony Swarzak, notching four runs that were punctuated by back-to-back home runs from Troy Tulowitzki and Russell Martin. A couple innings later, Edwin Encarnacion and Martin (again) added a pair of two run dingers to give the Jays the lead. They continued to pile on no matter who the Yankees brought in, as Joe Girardi wore out the bullpen door trying to find a way to stop the bleeding, but was completely unable to do so.
Estrada was not sharp on the evening, giving up home runs in the first, second, and fourth inning. He limited the damage on the first two, but the third one happened with two runners on base, giving the Yankees a large lead. The rain delay prevented him from going too deep into the game, which may have been a blessing given Estrada’s struggles: his final line was four innings, five earned runs on three deep flies, and two strikeouts. Scott Feldman came in for the fifth inning, and did yeoman’s work to keep it close, allowing only one run over his three innings of work and striking out five. He was able to pass it off to Jason Grilli and Ryan Tepera, who finished off the eventual Jays victory.
Top Play of the Game by WPA
In the top of the 8th inning, the Jays had already scored two runs to tie the game at 6-6, on a home run by Encarnacion (that had a whopping WPA of .301). That was not the peak moment, however, as Martin followed Encarnacion’s home run with one of his own, a blast to right field that he punctuated with a bit of a bat flip. That dinger had a WPA of .353, the highest of the night.
Bottom Play of the Game by WPA
The Jays didn’t get too much going against Pineda, but they did get two runners on in the fourth inning for Russell Martin, when they were down 2-0. Martin grounded weakly into a fielder’s choice, ending the inning and the threat. Snuffing out the Jays’ rally accounted for a WPA of -.050.
Eight is Enough
After a game that the Jays couldn’t get much of anything going, it looked like more of the same early on as Michael Pineda kept them scoreless through five innings. A rain delay and a change of pitchers seemed to jolt the Jays, who scored four runs in the sixth before absolutely exploding in the eighth, sending thirteen hitters to the plate and scoring eight runs, giving them a massive lead. The Yankees were forced to use three pitchers to get through the inning, and seven total in the game, something that may come into play with an afternoon game tomorrow.
Gregorius and Sanchez Go Yard
There were two Yankees hitters in particular that seemed to have Marco Estrada’s number on this night: Sanchez, and Didi Gregorius. Gregorius, a surprising choice for a #3 hitter with his reputation as a glove-first shortstop, hit a monster home run in the first inning to open the scoring, and hit a fly ball to the wall in the third. In addition to his two run home run in the fifth, Sanchez had a solo home run in the second that extended the Yankees’ lead to 2-0. After the 1-0 win last night where they stranded a number of runners, the Yankees were probably happy to have some long balls that guaranteed some offense, even if it ended up in a losing cause. Neither Gregorius or Sanchez had the courtesy to stop hitting after Estrada left the game, with Gregorius getting an RBI in the fifth, and Sanchez singling in the sixth. The Jays’ late rally made their fireworks a little less impressive.
Tomorrow’s getaway game is at 1:05 PM ET. The Jays send J.A. Happ (16-3, 2.96 ERA) to the mound. The Yankees will counter with lefty C.C Sabathia (7-9, 4.20). Happ has had excellent success against the Yankees this year, going 2-0 with a 1.42 ERA. Sabathia has been almost as good: his ERA comes in at an even better 1.38 in two starts, but he’s managed to lose both of them.
Lead Photo: Brad Penner – USA Today Sports