Baseball is weird. Last night the Yankees’ offense was outstanding. Nearly everyone in the lineup had a hit. Aaron Judge was only one to go hitless, but he reached on a walk. Tonight, the Yankees’ offense was about as tepid as it’s been all season, and they dropped the rubber game against the Blue Jays by a score of 4 - 0.
Despite a pretty terrible overall performance, the Yankees opened the game looking like they might continue last night’s hit parade. Judge drew a two-out walk and Didi Gregorius followed him with a double. With runners on second and third, Gary Sanchez worked a full count but struck out swinging at what was definitely ball four.
The offense didn’t get much going for the rest of the night. Their best chance for some runs came in the fifth inning. Garrett Cooper led off the inning with a single, and Ronald Torreyes followed him with a walk. Brett Garnder and Aaron Hicks, however, each flew out. With two outs, Judge came to the plate as the game’s tying run, but he struck out looking on a backdoor changeup to end the inning. Upon further review, the ball was definitely out of the zone, alas.
Overall, the Yankees went 0 - 9 with runners in scoring position. They left 11 men on base tonight. The Yankees have struggled all year with stranding runners. They lead the league in that category after tonight. Credit is due to Marco Estrada, however. His changeup is wicked, and he had pretty solid fastball command tonight. The combination of the two was just too much for the Yankees tonight.
Sonny Gray turned in a good but not great performance tonight. In six innings, Gray struck out six, surrendered five hits, and allowed two earned runs. An errant pick-off throw allowed an unearned run to score as well.
Gray kept the Yankees in the game, but there was certainly room for improvement. He had good stuff, but he simply threw too many pitches tonight. Gray consistently found himself in several deep counts. Ultimately, he gave up four walks tonight, tying a season-high.
Fans might criticize Gray for back-to-back losses, but to do so would be really unfair. Even with his struggles, he pitched well enough to win and kept the Yankees in the game. The Yankees brought the tying run to the plate several times but couldn’t produce any runs. Gray has thrown 12 innings in a Yankee uniform, and the offense has yet to give him a single run of support.
With the Yankees behind, Chasen Shreve came in to relieve Gray. He threw an off-speed pitch that didn’t break whatsoever, and Bautista put it in the left field seats. Other than the bomb, Shreve pitched rather well. He struck out three in his two relief innings.
Perhaps the best aspect of this game was Garrett Cooper’s continued success. Granted, he did strike out looking in the ninth inning, but the rest of his night looked great. He went 2 - 4 with another double. Cooper is 8-for-his-last-13 and has a five-game hitting streak going back to July 22nd.
The Yankees go home for a three-game set against the Red Sox beginning tomorrow. The Yankees are currently 4.5 games back in the AL East, so this upcoming series is the season’s most important to date. First pitch tomorrow is scheduled for 7:05 PM EST.