August 11, 2012
Blue Jays just can't keep pace in loss to Yankees
By MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency
TORONTO - In the fourth inning -- the top of the fourth to be exact -- the game was over.
Thanks to a three-run home run by Casey McGehee, the exclamation point on a four-run inning, the New York Yankees pulled into an unassailable lead.
The Toronto Blue Jays still had six more innings to launch a counter-offensive, but that notion was more whim than reality.
In the end, the Jays lost their fifth game in a row and 11 of their past 13 with a 5-2 loss to the Yankees.
The sad fact for the Jays these days, with five key offensive players banged up and not able to play, is that a four-run deficit may as well be 100.
Not to knock on the Jays and the 25 players on their current roster, but with no Jose Bautista, no Adam Lind, no J.P. Arencibia, no Brett Lawrie and now no Colby Rasmus for another day or two there is no hope unless their starter throws a shutout. Aaron Laffey didn’t and that was that.
“It was another game where you want to kind of beat your head against the wall,” said Laffey, now 3-3. “I pitched real well pretty much the entire game and had one inning wreck the whole outing and kind of put the team out of the game a little bit.”
Taking advantage of a Jays lineup that is overflowing with call-ups from the triple-A Las Vegas 51s was Yankees right-hander Ivan Nova.
On the afternoon, Nova set the Jays down in order through the opening three innings before giving up a leadoff single to Rajai Davis to start the fourth. After he was balked to second, Davis would score on a single to centre field by Edwin Encarnacion. Steady Eddie added an RBI single in the eighth.
This is the same Nova who has been pounded in his recent starts and hasn’t sniffed the eighth inning since Elvis was a Vegas headliner.
In his last two outings, against the Tigers and the Orioles, Nova has given up 11 and 10 hits, respectively, in five-inning stints, while allowing seven and nine runs to have his earned-run average zoom from 4.08 to 4.81.
Against the Jays, though, he was lights out as he allowed the two runs on five hits over 7 1/3 innings, struck out 10 and walked one.
Shortstop Yunel Escobar had a tough day for the Jays as he was hit twice by Nova, in his left shoulder in the fourth and his left elbow in the sixth. After the second beaning, home plate ump Jim Joyce issued a warning to both teams. Escobar was replaced by Omar Vizquel in the bottom of the eighth due to pain in the same elbow.
It was also a rough one for Anthony Gose as he struck out in all four at-bats to collect the Golden Sombrero.
The Jays lineup featured five players who opened the year at Las Vegas and those five went a collective 0-for-14 with eight strikeouts.
There are days when the youngsters are going to look like they are over-matched.
“Today was one of them,” Jays manager John Farrell conceded. “I thought Adeiny (Hechavarria) put a couple of good swings on some balls, drove a ball to centre field (that was caught on the run by Curtis Granderson as he raced to the wall). He looks balanced at the plate, showed good bat speed. Not much to show for it today but he squared up a couple of balls.
“Gose had a hard time handling the breaking ball from Nova. (Moises) Sierra made some contact but still, nothing to show for it.”
Laffey breezed through his first three innings.
In the fourth, though, the second time through the order, the Yankees pounced.
Mark Teixeira opened the inning with a single. After a fly out, Andruw Jones walked. Laffey came back to retire Granderson but Jayson Nix followed with an RBI single to left.
McGehee came to the plate, and on a 1-1 pitch Laffey came right down the middle and the backup third baseman didn’t miss as he drilled it into the second deck in left-centre for his first homer since being acquired by the Yankees from the Pirates at the trade deadline.
Suddenly, it was 4-0 and the Jays were cooked.
It’s difficult to see how it will get any better for Toronto until the injured players get healthy and are back in the lineup and that isn’t happening any time soon.