If you've been regularly watching the Yankees this season, you probably know a thing or two about déjà vu. Fans should all be familiar with the Yankees' "formula" of Betances to Miller to Chapman, but it seems New York has developed another, less positive, formula. Let's call it the "bad formula." It was on display on Tuesday, when the Yankees lost 4-1 against the Blue Jays. You likely can guess what said formula looks like, but here it is in written form:
1. Starter throws a great game
2. Defense is disappointing
3. Offense scores little-to-no runs
4. Yankees lose
Last Thursday against the Blue Jays, CC Sabathia went seven innings, allowing just three baserunners. He didn't give up an earned run, but a costly error by Didi Gregorius added two unearned runs to Sabathia's line. Starlin Castro hit a solo home run, which was the only run of the game for the Yankees. They lost 3-1. This Tuesday against the Blue Jays a similar scene played out, closely following the bad formula.
Start with step one of the bad formula, the fun part. Once again, Sabathia was excellent. He wasn't quite as dominant as his last start, but it's hard to be disappointed with the six innings Sabathia cruised through. The first inning was a 1-2-3 frame, as were the second and fifth. The 35-year old worked around a leadoff walk in the third, and the only truly rough inning he had was the fourth.
Sabathia's 0.45 ERA in May was raised a bit by Justin Smoak's 396-foot solo shot that inning, and he left the game in the seventh after a leadoff double from Edwin Encarnacion. It was a controversial decision by Girardi to pull Sabathia after just 80 pitches, but the Yankees have seen this line of thinking work out well in the past.
Next into the game was Dellin Betances, who just didn't have it on Tuesday. Things started off on a good note with a strikeout of Smoak and fly ball from Russell Martin, but it went downhill from there. One of those infamous Betances four-pitch walks followed, and Kevin Pillar then hit a single to right field. If it was Aaron Hicks out there, it could be looking at a different baseball game. Instead, it was Rob Refsnyder in right, and he was unable to make it a close play at home plate with noted-speedster Encarnacion scoring from second base.
Pillar then stole a bag to make it second and third, and the ball found Refsnyder again on a single from Darwin Barney. Refsnyder was unable to get Pillar out at home (this wasn't a very makeable play anyway) and two more runs crossed the plate. The rare breach of the "good formula" resulted in a 4-1 baseball game. Kirby Yates pitched the eighth, going a perfect frame to lower his ERA on the year to an excellent 2.25 mark.
Now that covered both step one and two in the bad formula have been covered, let's move on to part three. Although the Yankees' bats actually looked better than the box score shows, they only ended up with one run. J.A. Happ was far from bulletproof, with the Yankees threatening several times, but New York was unable to capitalize on their chances. A Refsnyder double in the first inning resulted in first and third with two outs, but Castro grounded out to end the inning. A similar moment unfolded in the fifth, when Jacoby Ellsbury walked and stole second. Alas, Refsnyder struck out to strand Ellsbury.
The Yankees did manage one run, though, when suddenly-good Chase Headley doubled to lead off the second inning. Austin Romine moved him to third on an infield single, and Headley scored when Hicks beat out a possible double play.
As mentioned before, the Yankees did hit the ball fairly well. A few batters simply drove pitches to the wrong part of the ballpark, and Pillar robbed a pair of extra base hits as well. The offense also created opportunities to score (hey, it's better than nothing), and they notched more hits on Tuesday (six) than in the previous two days combined. Sabathia was great yet again, and the Yankees stayed in the game until the last couple innings.
Still, the offense remained stagnant and, after a nice winning streak, the Yankees seem to be stuck back in a rut. They're now three games under .500 and have wasted another excellent pitching outing. On the bright side, the season isn't over just yet and tomorrow is Tanaka time.