Think about the various unpleasant things that could occur in a baseball game. A nearly four hour game that plods along. The Blue Jays coughing up an early lead. The Yankees winning. A(nother) starting pitcher (maybe) getting injured. Inconsistent umping. Futility with runners in scoring position. Losing a close game. Now put all those together. That was Wednesday evening at Yankee Stadium.
Things looked great to start as the Jays jumped all over CC Sabathia. Kevin Pillar and Jose Bautista led off with singles, and with two out Smoak singled to score one. Steve Pearce followed and blasted a 399 ft home run on the first pitch he saw to make it 4-0. With Marcus Stroman starting, it looks like the Jays might be headed for a boat race. Alas, it was not to be. Not at all.
Stroman just didn't have it tonight, with poor command. Brett Gardner singled, Aaron Hicks walked, and Matt Holliday struck right back for a home run to narrow it to 4-3 just like that. The bats did their job, striking back for two more in the 2nd on a bases loaded walk by Russell Martin and a fielder's choice by Morales that should have been a double play but Sabathia couldn't beat Morales to first covering the bag.
Stroman couldn't hold the Yankees. After working around two more batters reaching in the 2nd, Starlin Castro singled on a cheap ball just beyond the infield and Aaron Judge did what Aaron Judge does, and it was 6-5. Stroman got out of the inning, and that was the end of the night.
Now, taking out Stroman after 66 pitches and 5 runs would make perfect sense, given an offday tomorrow and the desperate need to win this game and take the series. But it may be worse than that.
Source at the Blue Jays tells me Marcus Stroman is out of the game due to "discomfort in his armpit". https://t.co/wyHkmN9imq— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) May 4, 2017
After the game, John Gibbons said that Stroman was dealing with some tightness in his arm...which is always super good. Ryan Tepera came in (so he's not going to be starting anytime soon) and wasn't on point either. He walked two in the 4th, but got out of it with a double play. The 5th was little better, as he loaded the bases with 2 out on a pair of singles and walk. John Gibbons wisely went to Joe Biagini.
And he was electric. He struck out Kyle Higoshioka on a full count pitch a little low, but that was Bill Welke's zone. He struck out the side in order in the 6th. He struck out Castro to start the 7th. In what became a brilliant strategic move, Joe Girardi blew a gasket about the strike zone, and got tossed. The strike zone would not be the same.
Then baseball got cruel. Judge took three pitches, two called strikes sandwiched around a curveball on the outside corner that wasn't called a strike. Judge took advantage of this new lease on life and fisted a ball just over the infield for a hit.
Chase Headley doubled, and the Jays pulled the infield to try and preserve the lead. Chris Carter hit a little bloop that landed on the edge of the left field grass for a game tying single, that would have otherwise been caught that the infield been at regular depth. Apparently, it's not the try league, it's the Texas League (h/t Minor Leaguer). Biagini couldn't handle a comebacker which went for a single, and the Yankees had a 7-6 lead. Joe Biagini gave up the lead having faced 5 batters, striking 5 of them out and getting the weakest of contact from three others. Exeunt Biagini, enter Joe Smith.
Generic Joe didn't fare much better, picking up where Unique Joe left off. After a strikeout, he issued back to back walks as the zone shrunk to force in another run.
Not that it really mattered, as Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman slammed the door. Roberto Osuna struck out the side, so that's nice.
Tonight's game graph:
Sorry, forgive my confusion.
Jays of the Day: Pearce (+0.181 WPA)
Suckage: Stroman (-0.297), Travis (-0.125) and Biagini (-0.257) because baseball is evil sometimes.
Tomorrow the Jays are off. Thank goodness. Friday they travel to Tampa, so you know things are going to get better in that hellscape that is the Trop.