Blue Jays’ bats remain silent as they are swept out of the Bronx after a tough 2-0 loss to the New York Yankees.
With Toronto coming into tonight looking to salvage the final game of this series, they handed the ball to Marcus Stroman. With the Yankees having to do some mixing and matching with their rotation, they handed the ball to Bryan Mitchell to make his season debut.
The Blue Jays offense kept to their recent way by letting opportunities to plate runs pass by. A prime example came in the third inning when Melvin Upton and Kevin Pillar each reached base via a walk. The two-on, no-out situation turned out for not after Mitchell induced a 5-4-3 double-play ground out off the bat of Devon Travis. Josh Donaldson who, is mired in a slump of late, hit a weak ground ball to end the inning.
Stroman pitched well early until he ran into trouble with two outs in the third inning. Starlin Castro took a 1-1 pitch over the wall to left field, followed by a Didi Gregorius double and a walk to Mark Texeira. Brian McCann added an RBI single to cash in the Yankees second run of the inning.
Once again in the fourth inning Stroman was able to get two quick outs before surrendering a single to Brett Gardner, followed by an opposite field double to Jacoby Ellsbury. Fortunately, for both Stroman and the Jays, the ball bounced out of play, and no run scored. He would ultimately escape with a scoreless inning, but with a pitch count of 83.
Mitchell was excellent in his 2016 debut. His ability to command his fastball for strikes, while inducing eight ground ball outs were a big part of his success. The righty would leave the game after allowing a leadoff double to Travis, in favour of the hard throwing Luis Severino.
Mitchell’s final line of the night reads as 5+ IP, 0R, 4H, 2BB, 2K on 80 pitches.
Stroman would complete five innings of work tonight. His final line would read 5 IP, 7H, 2ER, BB, 8K. Unfortunately, his inability to end both innings after getting into two out situations drove his pitch count to 97.
Toronto, would once again get a runner to second with one out, this time in their half of the seventh. However, a weak ground ball off the bat of Michael Saunders and a Melvin Upton strikeout to end the inning. Another opportunity wasted.
Make it 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and five men left on base. #BlueJays
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) September 8, 2016
Reliever, and Barry Davis’ favourite interview, Joe Biagini, pitched well in his two innings of work. With the offense struggling to cash in on opportunities, it was important for Biagini to keep the score at 2-0. He accomplished that by allowing one hit and striking out four.
Toronto would send Jose Bautista, pinch-hitter Dioner Navarro and Troy Tulowitzki to the plate in the ninth against Yankee reliever Tyler Clippard. The first two would strikeout, and Tulowitzki hit a weak check swing pop-up for the third out.
Toronto would lose the game 2-0, and drop all three games of the series for a Yankees sweep.
PLAY OF THE GAME
There wasn’t a lot to choose from tonight for play of the game, but the tag Devon Travis was able to place on Chase Headley on his attempted steal of second base, was a thing of beauty. The call originally went in favour of the Yankees, however, replay showed Travis getting the glove on Headley’s leg.
Tonight’s game ball goes to New York’s pitching staff of Mitchell, Severino and Clippard. Between them they managed to hold the Blue Jays to zero runs on five hits and three walks through nine innings. Granted the Jays offense is struggling, but there are times when you have to tip your cap.
Despite Toronto being unable to score a single run tonight. The turning point may have come in the top of the seventh. With the call on Saunders being reversed on replay it turned a 2-on, 1 out opportunity into a 1-on, 2 out situation. Hard to say if they would have capitalized, but it did change the outlook of the inning.
NEWS & NOTES
Baseball insider Ken Rosenthal tweeted today that Toronto had some interest in ex-NFLer turned MLB wannabe, Tim Tebow, after his workout for professional scouts last week. Feel free to have your own opinion on this subject, however, it’s most likely a “no risk” issue on their behalf.
Sources: #BlueJays one of teams exploring Tebow. One of their scouts turned in favorable report.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) September 7, 2016
Toronto has an off day on Thursday before opening up an important three game series with the Boston Red Sox. Keep an eye out for our series preview on Friday afternoon for a breakdown of all three pitching match-ups.
**Featured Image Credit: Arturo Pardavila III (Flickr) – UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0
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Wade is a long time baseball fan who has been involved with the game for over 30 years. Including as a former college player, amateur pitching coach, and blogger.