If you live in a cave, that might be the only way that you haven’t heard the news: the Toronto Blue Jays broke the streak.
In a day game that reached to 100 degrees, the Blue Jays were on fire in a close affair with the New York Yankees. With attendance reaching over 46, 000 people on a Friday, many Yankees fans who skipped work witnessed the exact opposite type of baseball game than the day before. Instead of a high-scoring game followed by bullpen shutdowns, the starters dueled to start the game.
Maybe it was fortunate that the duel was with baseballs and not pistols. In the top of the first inning, newly-acquired starting pitcher, Chris Capuano hit Jose Bautista with a pitch. This mark of tradition induced Blue Jays starter, Drew Hutchison to bean Carlos Beltran in the bottom half of the inning. If anyone in the Jays’ clubhouse lost respect for Hutchison, it was regained with interest as his teammates applauded and celebrated with him when he came back to the dugout. Both pitchers remained in the game, but it set the tone for a close, hard-nosed battle.
Capuano and Hutchison demonstrated an excellent barrage of pitching skill that fans many not have expected from either starter.
Capuano was put into the lineup after recently pitching from the Boston Red Sox bullpen. The idea was that they needed more left-handed pitching, especially against a division-rival like the Blue Jays who only hit .237 against lefty pitchers. Even though Shane Greene has pitched well with a 2.84 ERA and was scheduled to start the game on Saturday, his three errors in his recent start against the Texas Rangers and his righty arm led to his bump for Capuano. The Yankees starter went six innings, giving up 2 runs on 5 hits and 4 walks while striking out 4 batters.
Hutchison was coming off possibly his worst start of his career, only lasting just over two innings and gave up 6 runs against the Boston Red Sox. This was not the same pitcher on Saturday. He went six and two-thirds innings, also giving up 2 runs on 5 hits including a two-run homer by Brian McCann. Hutchison walked 3 batters while striking out 7 Bronx Bombers. His pitches hit their mark more effectively and efficiently compared to his last start. He threw 59 strikes on 89 pitches.
Both hitting lineups left 11 runners on base, with the Blue Jays being the only team to score when runners were in scoring position. It took the bullpens for the lead to open up.
Dan Johnson had an important and successful game for his Blue Jays career, scoring Melky Cabrera on a soft single passed second base in the seventh inning and hitting a line drive home run to right field that cashed in Bautista and Dioner Navarro. A late line drive two-run homer by Beltran in the bottom of the ninth inning could not salvage the game, as the Blue Jays broke the Yankees’ home-winning streak against their northern neighbours at 16 games.
On the mound today, in the third game of the series, J.A. Happ will want to continue the blue swagger against Shane Greene’s new place in the Yankees’ rotation. Greene will want to redeem himself to help his rookie success as Happ will try to continue his own streak of not giving up a home run in over twenty-five innings, including a scoreless six innings in his last start.
If the Blue Jays want to score more runs, they will have to continue to do it without Edwin Encarnacion who was recently reported to suffer a setback in his recovery. He was expected to possibly rejoin the lineup as early as this series.
Who do you think has the edge today?