The Yankees being the Yankees, losing to them always sucks on principle and so dropping an extra innings nailbiter as the rubbermatch of a weekend set would b especially painful. But if we’re completely clear-eyed and forward looking, the optimal scenario for the rest of the year is pretty much one run loses (better draft pick/bonus pool) where the players who will be around in the future perform well. And that’s more or less what happened Sunday.
Ryan Borucki once again turned in a very good outing in his third MLB start, going 7 innings and allowing just a first inning run on 7 hits and 2 walks against 5 strikeouts. But in a repeat of his home debut Monday against Detroit, he got little run support - just enough to prevent him from being saddled with the L - and the Blue Jays allowed a go ahead run in the 10th to drop an extra inning game that stayed within three hours.
To be totally frank, Borucki was fortunate not to give up more runs early, as he battled his command and his fastball velocity down a bit compared to his first few starts, mostly 91-92. In the first inning, he threw a couple very nice fading change-ups to Aaron Judge, then tripled up with a not so good one before coming in with a fastball Judge turned back up the middle. Giancarlo Stanton followed that up with a hard double to right, and Judge scored on a ground out. Borucki escaped with no further damage with a popout in foul territory that Russell Martin almost missed by saved with some acrobatics.
For the next four innings, Borucki worked in and out of trouble with runners in each inning, but avoided getting burnt. He worked around three singles in the 2nd and 3rd; a grounder, a blooper and a missile by Stanton. Clint Frazier walked leading off the 4th, but Borucki quickly induced a routine 6-4-3 double play for a quick inning that was seemingly the turning point.
After a leadoff single and one out walk of Judge, Borucki was again in a jam in the 5th, but pulled out another double play, this time of the 5-4-3 variety by Stanton. It’s been very impressive watching Borucki thus far not buckle with runners on and get the big ground balls to extract himself from those jams.
All that said, his last two innings were easily his most impressive. Facing a very good lineup the third time through, he rolled right through them with four strikeouts and just a ground ball single allowed. After not using it much despite it being very effective his first couple outings and Monday in particular, Borucki leaned heavily on his breaking ball, varying it between 76-80 MPH to both get swings and misses but also for called strikes. He did get a little more defensive help, as Randall Grichuk tracked down a hard drive deep to the gap to end the 6th.
Swung-hwan Oh followed Borucki and pitched very well, though after some fieworks as the umpires had some sort of issue with his interpreter to which Tim Leiper took exception and was ejected. Oh faced the minimum over two scoreless innings.
Tyler Clippard didn’t fare so well in the 10th, hitting the lead off batter. A bunt advanced him to second, scoring on a Brett Garder single. Because of course it would be the Gardner to drive the nail into the coffin against the Jays.
Offensively, the Jays didn’t do a whole lot. In the early going, they had a few two out baserunners that were stranded, including a Smoak double that looked like it might go out. The best chance to put up a big number came in the 4th inning, when Russell Martin and Randal Grichuk walked with two out to load the bases after Smoak had singled leading off. Alas, Lourdes Gurriel struck out.
Kendrys Morales ultimately knotted up the game with a no doubt leadoff home run in the 6th inning. Gurriel led off the 7th with a double, but advanced no further after a couple strikeouts and a flyout. In fact, a one out single by Morales in the 8th was the only baserunner the rest of the way against the Yankee bullpen after Gurriel’s double.
Jays of the Day: Borucki (+0.305 WPA), Oh (0.255), Morales (.143)
Suckage: Clippard (-0.288), Teoscar (-0.189), Solarte (-0.188), Pillar (-0.126). But really, the entire lineup save Morales and Smoak deserve them.
Tomorrow the Jays are off, and Tuesday they go to Atlanta for a quick two game set to return the visit a few weeks ago. Marcus Stroman and Julio Teheran will be on the mound starting at 7:35 EDT.