CC Sabathia was activated from the disabled list to start today’s game after missing a few weeks with a hamstring injury. He was therefore expected to have a relatively short leash. Unfortunately, everything fell apart for Sabathia in the third inning and the bullpen was required to take over early. Toronto scored all four of their runs during that disastrous third inning and that ended up being all they needed to win the game.
Sabathia induced four fly outs and two ground outs in the first two innings. With two outs in the third, Sabathia walked Darwin Barney. Jose Bautista followed with an RBI single, and Russell Martin also singled. The Yankees just couldn’t get that third out. After walking Josh Donaldson to load the bases, Sabathia walked Justin Smoak. Kendrys Morales kept the inning alive with a two-run single, and Sabathia was lifted in favor of Adam Warren who got Troy Tulowitzki to ground out.
Sabathia certainly threw a lot of borderline pitches in this game, but the home plate umpire also had an inconsistent strike zone. This was best demonstrated in the seventh inning when Brett Gardner was called out on strikes. The last pitch that was thrown to Gardner during that at-bat was low, yet the previous pitch that ended up in the same place was called a ball, as seen below.
The good news is that the bullpen had a great day. Tulo was the only batter that Warren faced, but he was also returning from injury today. Luis Cessa took over in the fourth and pitched four and two-thirds scoreless innings with three strikeouts. Chasen Shreve and Tyler Clippard also shut down the Blue Jays’ batters.
The bullpen kept them in the game, but the Yankees struggled to get anything going against J.A. Happ. Their only run came in the fourth inning when Aaron Judge launched his 28th home run of the season into center field. The offense just didn’t have many chances today. Gary Sanchez and Chase Headley hit two-out singles in the first and fourth innings, respectively. The Yankees also had two runners on in the fifth with Judge at the plate, but he struck out to end the inning.
Here’s hoping that they can find a way to win the series tomorrow. Michael Pineda will square off opposite of Marco Estrada at 1:05 EST.