On this day every year, we take the time to honor and remember all those in the armed forces who sacrificed for our freedoms. So a big thank you right off the top for your service and we will never forget you.
The Yankees flew north of the border for tonight’s first game against the Blue Jays. And like many noteworthy days, the Yankees and Blue Jays honored the military by wearing specially designed uniforms and hats. They say that camouflage goes with everything, but a camo hat on a guy in a Blue Jays home uniform begs me to disagree. Camo is not the new black. And while I appreciate the effort, perhaps there needs to be a slight alteration in how the MLB honors our vets on this day and other similar days that make it less glaring on the visual side of things.
Anyway, the Yankees visited Rogers Centre in the heart of Toronto for the first of this 3-game series. And it’s rather unfortunate that the Yankees’ bats didn’t make it through customs until right at the very end (totally stole that line from Twitter-verse, by the way).
Ivan Nova got the start tonight and had some mixed results again. In 6 innings, he threw 101 pitches, gave up 8 hits, 1 walk, and 4 runs, and struck out 4 Toronto batters. He did his best to spread out those runs though. In the 1st, a 1-out single scored on an RBI double to kick things off for the Blue Jays. A lead-off double and walk in the 3rd inning moved into scoring position on a ground out before scoring on another ground out and a nice double. And a lead-off solo home run in the 5th inning capped off the Blue Jays’ scoring tonight, both under Nova and for the game.
Part of that is due to the strong show in relievers Nick Goody for the 7th and into the 8th innings and then to Richard Bleier making his MLB debut to finish off the 8th inning. Bleier threw just 3 pitches for his 2 outs and proved that sometimes it’s not about quantity but quality for the outs that matter. Not a bad way to break out onto the MLB scene.
Like I said, the Yankees’ offense certainly didn’t turn up until late in the game. Toronto’s starter plowed through 8 innings, giving up just 3 hits and 3 walks to the Yankees’ roster. In fact, it would be the relievers hit the hardest tonight in the 9th inning. See, change is a good thing.
With 1 out and Beltran on base with a hit-by-pitch, Brian McCann’s monster 2-run home run off the center field wall halved the Blue Jays lead, gave a modicum of hope to the meager Yankee fan base at Rogers Centre (almost a worse place for Yankee fans than Fenway some seasons), and forced the Blue Jays to dig up another reliever.
Then with Teixeira standing at 2nd with a double off the new guy, he buckled down and got the requisite 2 outs to get out of the game and deliver a win for the Blue Jays. Change can also be a not so good thing. It’s all in the perspective of the outcome.
Final score: 4-2 Blue Jays.
Injury Update: prior to today’s game, the Yankees put Dustin Ackley on the 15-day DL. Yesterday, he slid back to 1st on a pick-off attempt and dislocated his shoulder. This also tore the cartilage around that joint (the labrum), a common occurrence with a forceful injury like a complex joint dislocation. He will see the team doctor in New York to see if surgery is necessary, which would lead to a fairly long stint on the DL. I think they’re waiting to see what Dr. Ahmed says before proceeding with a more accurate corresponding roster move than what they made today.
Speaking of which… the Scranton Shuttle was back up today. The Yankees activated Luis Severino after his rehab start with the Tampa Yankees last night (a decent outing overall), but optioned him to AAA Scranton to spend some time working out his kinks that led to some struggles this season. To fill in that empty roster spot by Ackley, the Yankees recalled Rob Refsnyder from Scranton.
Now, if you’re wondering what that means for 1st base depth, you’re certainly not the only one. The reality is that the Yankees are always better off with a healthy, hitting Teixeira, but his back-up after Bird’s shoulder surgery was Ackley. So that leaves Romine as their current best option. Yes, McCann can play 1st, but Romine is more comfortable having spent time there last year in AAA. After Romine would come left-side infielders like Headley and Torreyes. Then maybe Refsnyder? I think Refsnyder is in the mix to give a break to one of the other infielders.
Again, all the more reason I’m glad I’m not the one making any of these decisions. But I think we are just hoping for a healthy, fully capable team that is exceeding their potential like we’re used to expecting from this organization. You know, the normal season of the Yankees.