Thursday, April 14, 2016

Recap: Blue Jays 4, Yankees 2

For four and a half innings, things couldn't have gone much better for the Yankees.

Aided by a two-run top of the fourth and a promising first time through the order by Nathan Eovaldi, the Yankees found themselves up by a pair midway through Thursday night's matchup with the Blue Jays -- and seemed like they might actually pull off a difficult series win north of the border. 

But after Josh Donaldson smoked a three-run home run to center with two out in the fifth and Troy Tulowitzki added insurance with a solo shot in the sixth, it was the Jays who left Rogers Centre with their heads held high, cruising to a 4-2 victory in the rubber game of a three-game set.

Eovaldi did not pitch poorly on the evening, but when the Blue Jays had opportunities, their big bats were able to capitalize.

The young right-hander threw a season-high 6 2/3 innings and struck out eight, allowing seven hits with a couple of walks. He looked sharp in the early-going, but ultimately, his hung splitter to Donaldson will define his outing.

And considering how well his adversary, Marcus Stroman, performed, it's easy to see why.

Stroman retired each of the last 11 Yankees he faced in an eight-inning gem, yielding just three hits for his first W of the year. Stroman made very few mistakes while keeping the ball on the ground, inducing 17 groundouts in total to go along with three K's.

His lone blip came in the fourth, when the Yankees kicked off the scoring with some hustle from their veterans.

The relatively-slow Carlos Beltran picked up an RBI by beating out a potential double play to second, and moments later, Mark Teixeira crossed home when a slider in the dirt got past catcher Russell Martin.

But the Yankees failed to plate any more in the frame, stranding runners on second and third when Starlin Castro went down swinging.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Yankees dropped their second consecutive to Toronto after taking Monday's opener. They are now 4-4, three games behind the first-place Orioles.

NEXT UP: The Yankees will try to rebound Friday at Yankee Stadium against the Mariners. First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. ET. Luis Severino (0-1, 5.40 ERA) and Nathan Karns (0-1, 7.20 ERA) are your starters.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 4/14

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays are set to face off for the final time in their short little three-game series this week inside the Rogers Centre tonight with the rubber match. All three games have showcased some timely hitting and great pitching and that should be no different tonight with Nathan Eovaldi taking the mound for the Yankees and Marcus Stroman taking the mound for the Blue Jays.

The game will be played at 7:07 pm ET inside the Rogers Centre and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. Give us a follow on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and live tweet the game with us, or follow along if you can’t watch yourself, while we wait on the Yankees to come home to the Bronx. When the Yankees return though you can have your Yankees Tickets in hand ready to go by visiting the Yankees Tickets link at the top of the blog and buying from our partners over at Ticket Monster.

One last time, Go Yankees!

Get an Early Jump on Jackie Robinson Day w/ the Jackie Robinson Story

If Brian McCann’s Toe Goes From Day-to-Day to Being a Problem…

The New York Yankees seemingly survived a scare on Monday night when the Yankees coaches and staff checked out catcher Brian McCann and a troublesome big toe. McCann stayed in the game after the scare and was listed as day-to-day with the big toe bruise allowing Yankees fans everywhere to take a collective sigh of relief. What if he isn’t okay though? I mean I’m sure he is, surely the Yankees would never lie or downplay an injury… right, but we like to play devil’s advocate here anyway. What if he’s not, can the Yankees survive?

In a word, yes they can. Gary Sanchez did not exactly force the Yankees hand this spring training but the only reason it was a discussion was because of a great start in Triple-A at the end of the last season that carried over into the Arizona Fall League. Sanchez, who would presumably come up in the absence of McCann, has proven that he can hit advanced pitching and in a 15-day DL stint he would be more than suitable as a replacement both offensively and defensively.

It wouldn’t be ideal losing a big bat, a defensive player and a clubhouse presence like McCann but if it wasn’t too serious I believe the Yankees could weather the storm. If it were a season ending injury, which I’m not suggesting it is or that it could be simply having fun with the “what if” of it all, we may be singing a totally different story. McCann’s bat in the middle of the lineup is one thing but his control of the pitching staff and the running game which coincides with his pitch framing and other intangibles that aren’t talked about enough I think the loss would hurt more than anyone may think or want to realize.

Sanchez has made great strides defensively and the bat can be MLB ready while Austin Romine gets the bulk of the starts and reps behind the plate but he’s not McCann. Sanchez and Romine combined are not McCann. The Yankees need McCann. Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez, who would see less pitches to hit, need McCann. Carlos Beltran needs McCann. We all need McCann. Hopefully McCann can tough out this injury and hopefully the Yankees are being truthful, and again I think that they are or he wouldn’t have stayed in the game on Monday night in Toronto, or else things could get real interesting going forward.

One man does not make the team by any means but it sure doesn’t make it any easier when you lose one the caliber of Brian McCann. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Toronto Blue Jays 4/14

And here we go for the final time this series, the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays. These two teams have entertained the fans with two good games, depending on where you’re sitting of course, and I expect nothing less from today’s start, especially when you consider the starting pitching matchup. The Yankees will send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound this afternoon looking to improve off his first start of the season while the Blue Jays counter with their young ace and live arm Marcus Stroman.

Eovaldi was far from the “Great Eovaldi” that some here on the blog call him in his first start of the season allowing five runs on six hits against the Houston Astros. Houston tagged Eovaldi for two home runs in his five innings of work and the young righty will have to be much better tonight in Toronto if he wants to escape with a victory against this tough Blue Jays lineup.

Stroman is already making his third start of the season tonight for Toronto and is coming off a bad start against the Boston Red Sox last time out. Stroman allowed five earned runs to their division rivals in just 5.1 innings pitched and will look to bounce back tonight inside the Rogers Centre. Stroman owns a career 4-1 record with a 2.43 ERA against New York so this will be a tough tasks for the Yankees bats tonight in Toronto.

The game will be played inside the Rogers Centre at 7:07 pm ET and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV.

Go Yankees!

If Johnny Barbato Keeps Pitching This Way…

It’s only mid-April and the New York Yankees bullpen has already been on a roller coaster ride this season. The team’s biggest strength took a hit this winter with the trade of Adam Warren only to receive Aroldis Chapman from the Cincinnati Reds back in a trade. The strength of the bullpen took another hit when Justin Wilson was traded only to see Luis Cessa, at least in spring training, pitch well and lock down a bullpen slot out of spring training. The team thought they had Adam Warren replaced when Bryan Mitchell won a spot in the bullpen out of spring training as a reliever that could start only to take another hit when Mitchell injured his toe and learned he would miss four months of the season at least to fix it after undergoing surgery. The Yankees bullpen was handed another bad card when Nick Rumbelow announced that he needed ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery, better known as Tommy John surgery, but you know what? If Johnny Barbato keeps pitching the way he has I don’t think any of it is going to matter.

The Yankees already have a strong bullpen with Andrew Miller closing out games and Dellin Betances setting up games in the 8th inning and that core only got better when, albeit in a small sample size again, Chasen Shreve remembered how to get Major League caliber hitters out with his splitter. The Yankees have weathered the storm through seven games now and in another month they get their eventual closer back in Chapman after the lefty got suspended for 30 games due to an altercation this winter but New York may have also found another great arm in Barbato.

The theme of this post, like most posts similar to this in the early parts of the MLB season, is going to be sample size. Stats regress or improve and over 162 games you usually have a much clearer picture than you do after two weeks of the season but you have to crawl before you can walk so stick with me. Barbato, already deemed the Yankees “secret weapon” by that guy that has me blocked because I broke a story before him and wanted some accountability at the New York Post, has pitched extremely well not only this spring but it has carried over into the regular season as well. Barbato seems to be quickly earning his keep and working his way into the Joe Girardi Circle of Trust, trademark pending, this season giving the Yankees another strong 6th or 7th inning option out of the pen.

The Yankees pen, as patchwork as it has become in the early portions of this regular season, is still a strength and it’s only going to get better as long as everyone keeps pitching the way that they’re supposed to. When Chapman returns and when the Yankees find the confidence to bring up a Jacob Lindgren or a James Pazos again this pen has all the makings of being unhittable and downright unfair. Hate us now, we live for this. 

Weekly Check In: John Ryan Murphy

Yesterday we checked in with new Yankees fourth outfielder and bench piece Aaron Hicks so this morning we will check in with the man that New York gave up in the deal to the Minnesota Twins, John Ryan Murphy. Murphy was one of my personal favorite Yankees prospects and players when he was here in New York not because he has the flashiest playing style or the best stats but because you could see a true passion for the game when he played and when he rooted his teammates on from the dugout. I also enjoyed watching him bat, he was a line drive hitter with a ton of pop in New York and is now getting the everyday responsibilities in Minnesota. We wish him well, except when he is against us. That’s how it works though.

John Ryan Murphy: 

2016 2 8 8 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 .125 .125 .250 .375 4

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/14: Elston Howard Makes JFK Cry

On this day in 1967 21 year old left handed starting pitcher Billy Rohr is one out from pitching a no hitter in his Major League debut when Elston Howard singles on a 3-2 pitch to ruin the no hit bid. The Red Sox would win the game 3-0 but will be forever remembered as the game that John F. Kennedy Jr. was caught crying by the dugout and being consoled by his mother, Jackie Kennedy, because the shot at immortality was lost.

On this day in 1955 Elston Howard, who would later be named the American League MVP in 1963, became the first black player to play for the Yankees. Howard was a nine time All Star and played in 54 World Series games compiling a career batting average of .274.

On this day in 1911 a fire broke out and destroyed much of the Polo Grounds, the home of the New York Giants. The New York Highlanders, now known as the Yankees, offered the Giants a place to play for six weeks. Temporary stands were made at the Polo Grounds and the Giants soon returned.