Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Yankees Make a Different Difference vs. Pesky Blue Jays

The Yankees opened a 3-game series away to those pesky Toronto Blue Jays last night, and if they'd played most of the games between them last season the way they played this one, it would have been the Yanks, not the Jays, winning the American League Eastern Division. Alas, the Yanks went 6-13 against the Jays, and that made the difference.

Last night, the Yankees made a different difference.

A baseball team shouldn't need 5 separate pitchers to hold the opposition to 2 runs on 3 hits over 9 innings. But when Joe Girardi is the manager, it can happen.

Masahiro Tanaka started for the Yankees, and Girardi hit the panic button by removing him after 5 innings, in which he threw 92 pitches, allowing said 2 runs on 3 hits, walking 4, striking out 6. Any manager who isn't a scaredy-cat would have let Tanaka continue.

Girardi didn't. He used Johnny Barbato, Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller. Between them, they allowed only 2 baserunners: A walk each by Barbato and Shreve.

The Yankees got a run on a Starling Castro groundout in the 2nd, Brian McCann's 2nd home run of the season in the 6th, and a Jacoby Ellsbury single in the 7th.

Perhaps the biggest moment in the game came in the bottom half of that inning. With 2 out and the tying run on 2nd base, Jose Bautista, who had earlier doubled home Toronto's runs off Tanaka in the 3rd, batted against Betances. Betances has struggled in big moments since the start of last season, and Bautista has been trying to succeed David Ortiz as the big Yankee Killer of the age.

But, last night, in the big moment, Betances struck Bautista out looking. Now that is making a different difference. The Jays didn't get another baserunner, as Betances pitched a perfect 8th, and Miller a perfect 9th.

Yankees 3, Blue Jays 2. WP: Barbato (1-0 -- his 1st major league win). SV: Miller (2). LP: Brett Cecil (0-2).

The Yankees got a bit of a scare when McCann took a foul tip off his foot and had to leave the game. X-rays showed a bruised toe. He'll be out for at least a couple of games, but it looks like he won't have to go on the Disabled List. It looks like Austin Romine will be the catcher in the interim.

The series continues tonight. Michael Pineda starts against J.A. Happ.


Meanwhile, the Mets fell to 2-5, losing to the Miami Marlins 2-1. The New York Daily News, which slobbered over the Mets so much last year their writers needed a bib at time, ripped them this morning.

The Yankees are 4-2, the Mets are 2-5. At this rate, the Yankees will finish 108-54, and the Mets will finish 48-116.

"But, Uncle Mike," you say, "it's still early. It's a long season. Anything can happen."

True. But, last season, the Mets won 90 games. To match that this season, they'd have to win 88 of their last 155 -- a 92-win pace. Hardly impossible for a team that won 90 games last season, but, right now, they're hitting as badly as they did in last year's World Series, which is worse than the Yankees hit from September 1 onward.

As they say on medical dramas, "I'm not going to lie to you: It doesn't look good."

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