The New York Yankees lost their first series since mid-April against the Blue Jays. Coming into the AL-East showdown, the two teams had dichotomous fortunes. The Yankees were on a six-game winning streak, while the Blue Jays had lost six in a row. Insert obvious John Sterling quote to his colleague Suzyn Waldman. Let’s take a look back at how the series played out:
Matz Quells Yankees Bats As Jays Take Game 1
Steven Matz saved his best stuff for Tuesday evening against the Yankees. Finding themselves consistently behind in the count, the Yankees lineup couldn’t muster much of a fight. Only Clint Frazier and Kyle Higashioka found success, both going 2-4 with Higgy plating both Yankees runs. Both will be encouraged, as Frazier recorded his second straight multi-hit game, and Higgy busted out of a 3-for-37 rut. Blue Jays pitchers struck out 13 Yankees, including a season-high 10 by Matz.
Corey Kluber toed the rubber hoping to build on his incredible no-hitter last week in Texas. Unfortunately, the righty struggled due to injury and exited after giving up a two-run blast to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Kluber’s subsequent MRI showed a sub-scapular strain, likely sidelining him for at least two months. Michael King replaced Kluber in the 4th. While erratic, King persevered through three innings, allowing one run. Lucas Luetge then fell victim to another Gleyber Torres error. With the bases juiced, the lefty induced a soft-grounder in the hole, which Gleyber threw wildly past Higashioka, allowing two Blue Jays to score. Justin Wilson allowed a solo shot in the ninth to Yankee-killer Randall Grichuk, rounding out the Yankees loss 5-2 to end their 6-game winning streak.
Rookie Dazzles Frustrating Yankees in Game 2
Following Wednesday’s rainout, the Yankees opened their first seven-inning doubleheader of 2021 with a 2-0 loss. The Yankees faced the impressive MLB-debutante Alek Manoah. Toronto’s #3 pitching prospect showed no fear with his upper-90s fastball and frisbee slider. He elicited weak contact and struck out seven in his six innings. Miguel Andújar was the only Yankee that found success, going 2-3 with two soft singles. It continued a near-constant story for the Yankees bats, as any steps forward are subsequently followed by several backward.
Domingo Germán got the afternoon start, but his unsuccessful second pass through the top of the Blue Jays order proved the difference. Marcus Semien and Bo Bichette slugged back-to-back homers on pitches that faded middle-middle to make it 2-0. Apart from those mistakes, Germán was strong, allowing less than three earned for the sixth time in seven starts. Luetge impressed in his 1.1 innings in relief, striking out three.
Judge’s Power Salvages a Win in Game 3
Aaron Judge’s 3-RBI night led the Yankees to a 5-3 win in Thursday’s nightcap. The Yankees took the lead through an RBI-double from Gio Urshela in the 1st. After smooth sailing through 2.2 innings, Jordan Montgomery labored. He walked two Blue Jays, including an 11-pitch at-bat from Semien. Bichette deposited the next pitch into the Blue Jays bullpen for his second homer of the day, making it 3-1. Judge responded with a bang in the bottom half, tying the game with a two-out, two-run homer 440ft. to dead-center.
After a scoreless 4th by Montgomery, Gary Sánchez put the Yankees ahead with his longest homer of the year, measuring 444ft and 108.5mph off the bat. A two-out single from Semien chased Montgomery in the fifth, with Aaron Boone happy to use his well-rested bullpen. Jonathan Loaisiga struck out the red-hot Bichette to end the threat. After Judge added his third RBI on a sac fly, a combination of Loaisiga and Wandy Peralta retired the Jays threat in the 6th. Chad Green closed out the victory for his second save on the season.
Series Stats and Injury Roundup
The Yankees are 25th in the Majors in overall first baseman WAR at -1.0, and dead last in overall outfielder WAR at -1.8. Gary Sánchez’s out at home in Game 3 marked the Yankees MLB-leading 25th out-on-base this season, including 12 outs at home.
The injuries continue to mount for the Yankees. Following Kluber’s MRI results, the Yankees suffered a double blow on Thursday. Luke Voit joined the IL roster with a grade two oblique strain, and Aaron Hicks was unofficially ruled out for the season following his successful wrist surgery. In happier news, Giancarlo Stanton is expected to be activated on Friday for the series against Detroit.
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) May 27, 2021