Monday, August 13, 2012

Two Out of Three From the Pesky Blue Jays

So the Yankees cleared Customs and headed to Toronto.  I can imagine how it went...

Canadian Customs Official: "Do you have anything to declare?"

John Sterling: "Yes, I declare that you just can't predict baseball."

(rolleyes)

Surprisingly, the Yankees got a good performance from Freddy Garcia on Friday night, going 6 innings and allowing just 2 runs.  Joba Chamberlain was a little shaky again, allowing a run.  So did Clay Rapada.

But it didn't matter, because the Yankees did what the Yankees are supposed to do: They unloaded the lumber.  Anchored by Mark Teixeira's 22nd home run of the season, they scored 7 runs in the last 2 innings to put the game out of reach.

Yankees 10, Blue Jays 4.  WP: Garcia (6-5).  LP: Ricky Romero (8-9).

The Saturday game may have been a key moment in the season.  Ivan Nova started, and his last 2 outings had been bad.  This time, he was on.  The 4th inning was a little shaky, but other than that he cruised into the 8th, advancing his record to 11-6.  David Robertson and Rafael Soriano (28th save) took it from there.

The offense? As with the defense, the 4th inning was key.  Casey McGehee homered (his 9th of the season, but his 1st as a Yankee) off Aaron Laffey (3-3), anchoring a 4-run inning.  Yankees 5, Blue Jays 2.

Then yesterday, Phil Hughes did the opposite of Nova, turning some good recent performances into an awful one (11-10), getting shelled in -- you guessed it -- the 4th inning.  Recent acquisition Ryota Igarashi didn't do much better in relief of Hughes... and that turned out to be key.

Because the Yankees trailed the Jays 10-1, and then started to come back.  J.A. Happ (8-10), whom you might remember pitching for the Phillies against the Yankees in the 2009 World Series, was doing fine until the 6th, and then the hits couldn't seem to stop coming.  That 6th included home runs by the overrated, washed-up Derek Jeter (his 9th) and Robinson Cano (his 25th).  The Yanks got 3 in the 6th and 3 more in the 7th...

But that was as close as they got, as Casey Janssen had to come in for Toronto and slam the door for his 15th save.  Jays 10, Yankees 7.

Still, getting 2 out of 3 on the road is good.  Especially from those Pesky Blue Jays.  Add on the split of the 4-game series in Detroit, and it was a 4-out-of-7 roadtrip.  Not great, but acceptable.  As I said last week, you win 2 out of 3 at home, and go slightly above .500 on the road, 54-27 + 41-40 = 95=67, which probably = American League Eastern Division title.

*

So here's where we stand, with 48 games to play: The Yankees are 67-47, leading the AL East 5 games over the Tampa Bay Rays, 5 1/2 (6 in the loss column) over the Baltimore Orioles, 11 (12) over the Boston Red Sox and 13 over the Jays.

Elimination numbers -- keeping in mind that the Yanks, Rays and Jays have played 1 fewer game than the O's and 2 fewer than the Sox -- are 35 for the Sox and Jays, 42 for the O's, and 43 for the Rays.  Any number of Yankees' wins and Rays' losses the rest of the way, adding up to 43, and the Yankees win the Division again.

The Yankees start a homestand with a 3-game series against the Texas Rangers -- the one team in the AL with a better record.

Tonight: David Phelps vs. Ryan Dempster, the former Marlin and Cub ace.

Tomorrow night: Hiroki Kuroda vs. Matt Harrison.

Wednesday night: Freddy Garcia vs. Scott Feldman.  Boy, there's a pitching matchup to hold your attention...

As we say in hockey, "RANGERS SUCK!" Come on you Pinstripes!

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