Recap: Yankees 5, Blue Jays 3; Toronto Tied Up By Tanaka

The Toronto Blue Jays were looking to carry some of the good vibes from their last game in Tampa into the Bronx for a battle with the fourth place New York Yankees. Things looked good early as the Jays were making hard contact but simply couldn’t cash in baserunners as the day wore on. A poor start from R.A. Dickey left them to play catch up and the bats’ attempted comeback was snuffed out by Tyler Clippard and Dellin Betances in the back of the bullpen.

In our series preview we discussed Dickey’s poor fortunes at Yankee Stadium this season. While he was partly done in by poor run support, he was certainly culpable in his own right this afternoon. He was staked with an early 1-0 lead and had handed it back after just three pitches. He looked to settle down with a quick second inning but gave up another run in the third and two more in the fourth. It wound up being his shortest outing since late July: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 1 BB, 5 K on just 64 pitches. This marks the third Toronto loss in the Bronx this season and the third with Dickey taking the “L.”

Toronto took the lead just two batters in to today’s game as Jose Bautista singled to drive in Devon Travis following a leadoff double. The Jays had no problem getting runners on but continued to struggle driving them in, allowing Masahiro Tanaka to weave his way out of trouble several times today. The Yankees had no such problem, scoring five runs in the first four innings before being shut down by Toronto’s bullpen. Tanaka’s final line of 6.1 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 3 BB and 4 K came on a day where he wasn’t at his best but still managed to keep the Blue Jays off the board.

The Blue Jays scored two runs in the top of the seventh thanks to a two-RBI single from Edwin Encarnacion with the bases loaded to cut the deficit to two. Pinch hitter Russell Martin stepped to the plate with a chance to do more damage but had his soft blooper caught by Starlin Castro in short right field. Jose Bautista also had a few awful baserunning decisions today; getting easily thrown out at home in the first and being thrown out at third base to end the fifth. Those blunders are particularly painful for a team struggling to cash in runners and it cost them today.

Top Play of the Game by WPA

Today’s top play of the game came early in the form of Jacoby Ellsbury’s two-run homer on just the third pitch of R.A. Dickey’s day. The dinger gave the Yankees a lead that they would never relinquish and accounted for a 0.165 WPA.

Bottom Play of the Game by WPA

Russell Martin’s soft liner to end the seventh was today’s bottom play of the game (-0.72 WPA). He stranded runners on the corners and the Blue Jays wouldn’t really threaten to strike again. It was the right move to call on Martin to pinch hit for Michael Saunders but the Jays weren’t rewarded with a positive result.

Bullpen Excels Again

After Danny Barnes, Scott Feldman, Joaquin Benoit, Jason Grilli and Roberto Osuna delivered six innings of shutout, two-hit ball yesterday, the Blue Jay bullpen was once again tasked with keeping the game close while the offense tried to find its footing.

Francisco Liriano, Brett Cecil and Benoit combined for four more scoreless innings in relief of Dickey today. If the other issues can sort themselves out, the Blue Jays look like they have a bullpen that’s more than capable of holding a lead going forward.

Offensive Struggles Continue

“Struggle” might not be the proper word, but it’s disconcerting to see the Blue Jays’ vaunted lineup follow the same pattern over the past handful of games: quick run, long drought, and then more runs off the bullpen. Granted, the last two games have been against Chris Archer and Tanaka, but the quiet middle innings have to go by the wayside if Toronto wants to go on another little run to cement their postseason candidacy.

To wit, the Blue Jays were not without chances today. They left eight men on base and four in scoring position whereas the Yankees left three and two, respectively. This is still a very good team- it’s just that waiting for a late charge puts a lot of undue stress on the pitching staff to keep things within reach.

Up Next

The Jays and Yankees get back to it tomorrow when Aaron Sanchez (13-2, 2.88 ERA) takes on youngster Luis Cessa (2-0, 3.00 ERA as a starter). First pitch is set for 7:05 PM ET.

Lead Photo: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

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