Another game, another missed opportunity.
Today the Blue Jays cashed in with the bases loaded in the 11th inning, and upped their lead in the AL East to 3.5 games. The Yankees must find a way to stop the bleeding in Game 2 of today’s doubleheader.
Game 1 was a home run-filled day, with seven between the two teams. Apropos considering the Blue Jays entered the day first in MLB with 197 home runs. The Yankees came in tied for third with 188.
While the Yankees will have to get along without a star in Teixeira, the Jays received a scare of their own in the second inning when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki collided with center fielder Kevin Pillar. X-rays were negative on Tulowitzki’s ribs and chest, and while it appears he might have escaped serious injury, he will continue to be evaluated. As we’ve seen with Teixeira, it’s possible for any kind of injury or symptoms to linger.
The addition of Tulowitzki to Toronto is nearly synonymous with the Blue Jays winning surge up the AL East. The loss of Tulowitzki, or anything less than a 100 percent Tulo could impact the Blue Jays, but at this point it appears the offense is too good to fall off.
So at this point where do you put your finger on the Yankees’ pulse? It surely seems like this is Toronto’s division to lose. The Yankees have been undeniably inconsistent, but the real story has been the success of Toronto in the second-half. The Jays are 36-14 since the All-Star break, having erased the six game lead the Yankees had as of July 31.
An unfortunate aspect of Game 1 was the extra innings impact on Game 2 starters, and the use of Dellin Betances for four outs, as well as two innings of Andrew Miller, which almost assuredly takes them out for Game 2. At what point do the Yankees forget trying to catch Toronto for the AL East?
Well of course the division is the goal. However, the Yankees currently lead the wild card race by three games over the Texas Rangers. As dire as things seem, the Yankees can make the playoffs, even if it’s the dreaded one-game playoff. Who gets the ball for that game? Who do you trust?
Luis Severino proved how human he is, citing lack of command with his pitches during Friday night’s game. Nathan Eovaldi is likely done for the regular season. Even if he could come back, it’s doubtful the Yankees could trust him with little to no pitching prior to a critical playoff game. Masahiro Tanaka might become the best bet. He is the ace right?
If the wild card came down to New York and the Rangers, could Cole Hamels get the ball for Texas? Yet another pitcher the Yankees might have been rumored to acquire pre-trade deadline.
All these questions will be answered in due time. No matter what the standings look like as of late Saturday afternoon, and potentially by Sunday afternoon where Toronto could have as much as a 5.5 game lead in the division, the Yankees will continue to play out each game with the goal in mind of winning the AL East.
No matter how unlikely it’s beginning to look.