Okay, there is so much about this game that went so well that it’s rather depressing to have to talk about what went so wrong. And unfortunately, since there was no miracle last-minute comeback, the right gets overshadowed by the wrong in this case.
Look, the Blue Jays’ starter happens to be a very good pitcher, a former Cy Young award winner. And when he’s good, he’s really, really good. And tonight, he was really, really good, keeping the Yankees, coming to Toronto on their Fenway sweep high, from doing much tonight. They poked through his strategy in the 7th inning — Beltran led-off with a double, moved to 3rd on a ground out, and then scored on Garrett Jones’ ground out. It was the first run of the game (more on that in a moment), and it was the only run the Yankees would score. Honestly, the Yankees weren’t hitting much at all tonight — a grand total of 3 hits.
But the Yankees were cruising along quite nicely for most of the game, and that sole run scored looked like hope behind the stellar night starter Chase Whitley was having tonight. Overall, his 90 pitches took him 7 innings, giving up 6 hits, no walks, no runs, and striking out 6 Toronto batters. Honestly, it was one of the best outing from a Yankees starter all season, even getting himself out of trouble on several occasions (like in the 3rd and 6th).
Like I said, it was really good for a while. And then it wasn’t.
In the 8th, the Yankees turned to reliever Chris Martin, who in 7 pitches began the unraveling of all of Whitley’s hard work. A ground out and 2 singles was enough for the Yankees to turn to the bullpen.
So they asked Dellin Betances for a 5-out outing, and much like his closing counterpart (Miller) did last night, he struggled to find a close to the inning. A double scored Toronto’s first run and tied up the game, and a pop up got a second out of the inning. And a former Yankee stepped into the batter’s box and singled, scoring both runners; though this play was considered a single and a throwing error, which doesn’t really make sense with how it played out to me, as it is usually scored as either/or not both/and. Betances got his sole strikeout of the game to end the inning and his night.
Final score: 3-1 Toronto.
It was a quick game, just 2 hours and 18 minutes, but mostly that was due to the very efficient starting pitchers. And it seemed like Toronto forgot that there was a baseball game tonight — just 40% of the seats at Rogers Centre were occupied. And Canadians have no excuse, as their NHL team the Montreal Canadiens (in the play-offs) played yesterday (and lost to the Lightning (my Florida friends are happy) and won’t play again until Wednesday.
So, come on, Canada, be the obnoxious fans you are in Spring Training and show up to support your boys, even the ones in cleats rather than skates. I mean, the Rangers are in the play-offs too, and New Yorkers still show up in droves to watch the Yankees.
But then again, I can see the appeal of showing up for a Yankees game even when other local sports teams are doing something awesome. If I didn’t, I just might be a Toronto fan. I mean, I did go to enough of their minor league games growing up, especially over the years they were pretty good (and won the Series twice). And now, I’ve dated myself. Enjoy figuring that one out!