After winning four in a row backed by a red hot offence that bats have gone cold in Yankee Stadium – and the Blue Jays can’t find a way to win at Yankee Stadium.
Friday night, Hiroki Kuroda was virtually unhittable. Not much you can do when a top line pitcher throws like that.
But yesterday’s loss was one that got away. The Jays managed to make David Phelps look like a Cy Young candidate. A rally killing pick off of Jose Bautista to end the 1st inning was very telling of how this game would play out. The Jays went 1-9 with runners in scoring position and left 14 men on bases in total.
And Brandon Morrow, making his first start in a couple weeks, looked sharp. He’s line didn’t reflect how well he threw. He had a live fastball and excellent command. Really the difference in this game was Robinson Cano – with his two homers he moved into first place tie in the American League home run race with 12.
But there are issues in the Jays line up. J.P. Arencibia is ice cold. He is that sort of player. When he is hot, he’s on fire. When he’s cold, they need to bat him 8th in the line up. And right now he is ice.
I mentioned it before and I know that the Jays did win 4 straight with the new-look line up of Melky Cabrera, Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion batting 1, 2, 3, but I’m still not a huge fan. In the last 6 games with this line up, Emilio Bonifacio (who has finally been given consistent playing time – it’s about time) has hit .304. He should be leading off. Period.
Cabrera is the hottest hitter on the team. You have to have someone hitting in front of him with a chance to get on base. Cabrera has been raking doubles lately and you have to wonder how many would score Bonifacio from firstbase. Probably any of them if he was on.
Today we have R.A. Dickey vs. CC Sabathia. This one could go either way, but we really need a win. Lose today and we’re 11 back in the division – ouch. With a win, we can crawl back to Toronto down 9 with the next 7 games vs. AL East opponents. Let’s hope the knuckleball is doing its thing today.
Lefties are only hitting .195 vs. Sabathia so look for a righty heavy line up today.
For the record, for the 90 win season we need to go 73-46 in the remaining 119 games (play .613 ball the rest of the way). This is still possible, but it’s becoming much less probable with every series loss – especially vs. AL East opponents.
The hope is with Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes on the mend, the Jays can hang in long enough to get the stars back and they play like stars. That’s all we can hope for at this point.
Right-hander Josh Johnson will miss today’s scheduled start against the Yankees because of tightness in his right triceps muscle.
The Blue Jays described the move as precautionary, Johnson has not been placed on the 15-day disabled list. Recently acquired (and familiar face) Aaron Laffey will come in from the bullpen to make the spot start.
Perhaps the tightness in Johnson’s right triceps can help explain some of his issues. The 29-year-old has allowed at least four runs in all but one of his April starts and pitched more than six innings just once.
Laffey was claimed off waivers from the Mets earlier this week. The lefty allowed eight runs in 10 innings this season for New York, while making a pair of starts and appearing in four games. Last season with the Jays, Laffey threw 100.2 innings and posted a 4-6 record and 4.56 ERA.
Today started as a favourable pitching match up vs. Ivan Nova and now has tilted into the Yankees favour. With CC Sabathia tomorrow vs. J.A. Happ and R.A. Dickey and his ailing back set to pitch on Sunday, the Jays need Laffey to step up and give them some quality innings – and we need the offence to come to life….