If you’re a fan of the New York Yankees, what you witnessed this weekend in the Bronx wasn’t exactly what you expected. The surging Toronto Blue Jays came in, swept the first-place Bombers, and leave town only 1 1/2 games out of first place. The Jays did exactly what they needed to, and the Yankees are left to wonder what just happened.
The Yankees have now gone 26 innings without scoring a run, or Friday night’s contest in which they lost 2-1 to Toronto in 10 innings. The bats have gone Siberia-cold, and with a day off on Monday, they are left to ponder what needs to be done to correct the ship. Should the Yankees now be panicked with Toronto nipping at their heels? You bet! The starting pitching did a solid job all weekend, as both Nathan Eovaldi and Masahiro Tanaka pitched well enough to win, but those darned bats were nowhere to be found.
Michael Pineda is out of the picture until the beginning of September, and top prospect Luis Severino is quickly approaching his career innings high at the professional level. He has to be feeling the pressure, as do the other members of the Yankees’ rotation. Toronto isn’t going anywhere, and after having won eight straight games, squarely have the Yankees in their cross-hairs with a rematch in Toronto next weekend. The Yankees feel like they’ve been sucker-punched in the guts, especially after having played so well at home the entire season–and knowing Toronto has struggled on the road.
The Jays return home and host the Oakland A’s, who have picked up the pace somewhat, winning six of their past nine, while the Yankees go out on the road to take on a Cleveland Indians’ team that is just has split their past ten games, going 5-5. If the Yankees’ bats continue to be MIA, and the Blue Jays handle Oakland, sure, we’ll see a first place/second place match-up north of the border next weekend, but it might be a role reversal in the standings, as the Jays might be the ones sitting atop the mountain, while the Yankees give chase.
Looking back at the July 31st non-waiver trading deadline, Yankees’ GM Brian Cashman wasn’t willing to move any essential farm pieces to acquire what everyone thought they needed: an impact starting pitcher. Ten days later, a failed trade for the underwhelming Dustin Ackley (who had just three at-bats in pinstripes before going on the disabled list), the question should be why didn’t the Yankees go after an impact bat to replace Carlos Beltran? Justin Upton was available. Jay Bruce was available. Brandon Phillips was an obvious upgrade at second base, the cross-town Mets even acquired Yoenis Cespedes.
Instead the Yankees are where they are. Short one of their dominant pitchers, and stuck with a lineup that was hitting right at .200 after Friday night’s loss to Toronto. It could be a very interesting and disappointing week for the Bronx Bombers starting as early as Tuesday night, because the Blue Jays aren’t going anywhere.