The Yankees are north of the border for the last time this season, visiting Rogers Centre and its delightful turf-covered field, and silencing those zealous Toronto fans with a win tonight. Jeter mentioned in a pre-game interview that the first thing that comes to his mind is Opening Day 2003 when he dislocated his shoulder sliding into 3rd.
Chris Capuano got the start tonight and struggled some but really came out on top by the end of the night. Over 6.1 innings, Capuano threw 106 pitches, allowed 8 hits, 3 runs (2 earned), and a walk, and struck out 4 Toronto batters. The Blue Jays struck first offensively with a solo home run in the 4th, and actually they did a pretty good job of defending that 1-0 lead right up until the 7th inning.
And it was like both teams decided to play a brand new game in the 7th inning. And while I’m glad the Yankees certainly came out on top, it was rather hard to watch what ended up being the result of super sloppy pitching and fielding in the entire inning. Because they’re in Toronto, the Yankees got first crack at the offense in the 7th inning. McCann led off with a double, Beltran walked, and then they both scored on Brett Gardner’s double to start things off for the Yankees (Gardner ended up at 3rd on a throwing error). Ichiro singled, and with runners were on the corners, the Blue Jays opted to go to their bullpen to get a quick strike out (and the first out of the inning so far). But another throwing error allowed Gardner to score and Ichiro to move to 2nd. But then Jacoby Ellsbury smacked a big 2-run home run into right field. And suddenly it’s 5-1 Yankees at the 7th inning stretch.
But then the Blue Jays return the favor. With 1 out and Capuano on his last legs, a walked batter scored on a double. Then a throwing error allowed runners on the corners, and that’s when Warren was called on to keep things under control. A sacrifice fly allowed another Toronto run and a throwing error landed the runner at 2nd. So if you’re any good at math (or you’ve stopped counting a long time ago), by the end of the 7th inning, the score was 5-3 and there were 4 total throwing errors (2 by each team). Damage done.
Warren came back in the 8th for 2 outs before the Yankees decided to call on the new guy. Before the game, the Yankees picked up Indians’ reliever Josh Outman, put him on the 25-man roster, and designated Rich Hill for assignment. So, Outman got his opportunity to pitch tonight, but promptly gave up a single after an 8-pitch at-bat. So it was David Robertson’s turn for a 4-out save, which he did in 12 pitches.
An extra insurance run was added to the Yankees’ lead by Chase Headley in the top of the 9th with Headley smacking a solo homer into right center field seats. It would be 6-3 Yankees. And all is right with the world.
Well, not everything… Masahiro Tanaka threw a simulated game earlier this week and was resting the arm for a few days to see how it felt. Apparently, some lingering forearm soreness (emphasizing it’s not the previously injured elbow) shut Tanaka down from further sim games, sending him back to the specialists and Yankees’ doctors in New York. It can be seen as a mixed bag, most people see that as a “doom and gloom sign”. But that seems like a giant leap to me. Honestly, the Yankees are back in the City in just 2 days anyway, and Tanaka is used to the medical staff and facilities at the stadium, so I guess I don’t see this as a bad sign but rather as a logical one. I think I’d ask for the same thing if I was in his place. And I’m also wary of jumping to negative conclusions so quickly.
The same goes for a now-injured Ellsbury who injured his ankle sliding into home during tonight’s game. It was a messy challenged play that I won’t go into right now. I don’t agree with the final call at all (and I won’t comment on it publicly other than that because I have an exacting no negativity policy on this blog). But what burns the most is that Ellsbury won’t play tomorrow because of the injury. No broken bones, but it seems he slid into home catching the catcher’s protective gear on his left ankle. I suspect a nasty bruise (or contusion for you medically inclined readers) will need lots of ice and rest for a day or so. Fortunately, the Yankees are currently sitting on a plethora of outfielders, though none that can hit and steal quite as well as the center fielder.
Look, a win tonight is a very good thing, despite the sloppiness or whatever was going on under the opened dome under the watchful eye of the CN Tower. Here’s to more favor for the Yankees when the craziness of baseball happens, because it seems to be happening with increasing frequency lately. And as long as the Yankees are on the better side of that coin, I’m okay with a little crazy. I can’t imagine anyone on the Yankees arguing with that logic either.