Tonight, there was a bit of a pitchers’ duel in the Bronx tonight. Nathan Eovaldi went up against the Blue Jays starter, a former Cy Young Award winner, nearly matching him in most statistics. Look, Eovaldi is a really good starting pitcher, and what makes him really good is that as hard as he throws in the 1st is about as hard as he throws well into the 6th and 7th innings. Eovaldi is making better pitches and getting himself further into the game, which was his problem earlier in the season. Both starters were only tripped up by pesky home runs. In fact, the only runs scored tonight for either team was on solo home runs.
Eovaldi threw 112 pitches into the 7th inning, giving up 5 hits, 1 run, and 2 walks, and striking out 3 Toronto batters. A 1-out solo home run in the 1st inning was the only run allowed under his watch. Eovaldi kept that momentum strong into the 7th inning where he struck out 1 batter and then a batter reached on a missed catch error and a single. With a triple digit pitch count, that would be it for Nasty Nate tonight.
The Yankees’ lone offensive contribution was in the 2nd inning. Mark Teixeira led-off the inning with a big hit to the left field fence. Originally, it was ruled a ground-rule double on fan interference, but after a lengthy review, the call was overturned and made a home run, Teixeira’s 30th home run of the season. The ball missed the fan’s hands entirely and bounced off the top of the wall and back into the outfield by the left fielder. It tied up the game, and both teams spent the majority of the game trying to score that winning run.
After Eovaldi came out of the game with 2 runners and 1 out in the 7th, it was reliever Justin Wilson to get a 4-pitch strike out before turning the game over to Dellin Betances. Betances promptly walked his first batter to load the bases before getting a ground out to get out of the jam and end the inning. Betances kept the Blue Jays scoreless through the 8th. Andrew Miller took 6 pitches to get through his 9th inning. And with no runs scored by either team, they were onto the 10th inning.
Branden Pinder’s 10th inning was only marred by a 1-out solo home run. So the Blue Jays were barely in the lead as the Yankees came to bat to try to at least tie up the game. It was not to be, not when the Blue Jays’ reliever took 6 pitches to put the Yankees’ batters down in order and seal the game for Toronto.
Final score: 2-1 in 10, Toronto.
Some notes: Brian McCann was back in the line-up tonight, wearing a knee brace that will hopefully keep him fairly pain-free and healthy. When catchers have knee pain (no matter how small), it’s something they take seriously as they spend a good portion of their career utterly dependent on good knees.
Two more home games this weekend, both against the Blue Jays. They are looking at cutting in on the Yankees’ lead in the AL East, and the Yankees are, of course, hoping to expand that lead. That’s the thing about baseball this time of year, you just never know who’s going to sneak up and suddenly burst out in their division. Nothing’s set yet. Anything really still is possible.
Well, most things…