Blue Jays Lose To Yankees In A Consistent Fashion


Well, at least the Toronto Blue Jays are consistent. It is just not the consistency they needed.

Over 40, 000 people braved the cooling temperatures at Yankee Stadium to watch the New York Yankees host the Blue Jays last night. Toronto has often opened the scoring in the first inning, only to bleed runs and lose. This night was no exception.

Last night’s starting pitcher Mark Buehrle has been a pillar of that kind of consistency, producing a 2-3 record, with a 4.30 ERA, in his last ten games. He has not been horrendous, especially since the Blue Jays acquired him while knowing that he soaks up innings and gives up runs. His 29 strikeouts to only 9 walks is proof of his skills on the mound. The issue lies with the timing of his mistakes.

Hiroki Kuroda also feels Buehrle’s pain of a veteran pitcher bleeding runs. Brendan Kuty of recently reported that Kuroda “didn’t rule out retirement or a return to Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, where he made his name before joining the Dodgers.” After seven seasons in Major League Baseball, Kuroda has only had three seasons with a .500 record or better. His best season was in 2012, where he was 16-11 in 33 starts. With the Yankees getting older as a club and not likely to move into the postseason this year, Kuroda could easily leave New York for his homeland of Osaka, having made good money with arguably the most successful club in professional sports.

Both pitchers were showing their age a bit last night. In the top of the first inning, Kuroda gave up a leadoff double to Jose Reyes, who later got out on a fielder’s choice from a hit by Jose Bautista. Edwin Encarnacion then launched his 33rd home run of the season  up high to hit the left field foul pole, putting the Blue Jays ahead by two runs. Instead of sustaining the lead, Buehrle gave up a leadoff double of his own to Jacoby Ellsbury. Derek Jeter singled which got deflected by Adam Lind to allow Ellsbury to third base. Brian McCann then singled on a ground ball to left field, cashing in Ellsbury. Once more, the Blue Jays gave up at least a run after breaking the scoring seal early.

Buehrle went on to continue that consistency in the bottom of the third inning, as Ellsbury hit his 16th home run to right field, which also scored Ichiro Suzuki. To complete the domination, Ellsbury also cashed in Stephen Drew and Chase Headley on a grounder in the fourth inning, that forced out Suzuki at second base. A double play would have ended the threat, but another throwing error by Reyes allowed Ellsbury to reach first base to record the runs.

Bautista tried to respond for his starter in kind by grounding out to third base to score Reyes in the top of the fifth inning, but the clouds loomed more over the Blue Jays’ heads than over the field. Neither team scored for the rest of the game.

In a side-story, related to the Blue Jays, former starting pitcher Esmil Rogers came in for  Yankee relief by balking to move Jays’ runners into scoring position. Nothing came of it, but was a bit embarrassing as he did not come to a full set position before releasing his pitch. Did that cloud follow him to New York?

Buehrle went 6.0 innings, giving up 5 earned runs and 2 walks, while striking out 3 batters. He threw 59 of his 93 pitches for strikes, but only got 6 of his vintage-style of groundouts. Kuroda matched with 6.2 innings of work, giving up just 2 earned runs and no walks, while striking out 7 Blue Jays. Similar numbers, yet different scores. Another tough outing for Buehrle, who had started the season with great shut-down pitching, bringing his record to 12-10 in 194 innings. Just shy of his goal of another season with over 200 innings pitched.

At this point in the season, Blue Jays manager John Gibbons will likely give Buehrle a chance in relief to make up the innings he needs to get closer to Cy Young’s total. Whether it gives the Jays brass a chance to show off their possible trade asset for the off-season or not, it means a lot to the veteran and Gibbons has always been a players’ coach. It’s not like his consistency to bleed runs will cost them the playoffs now. It just helped, with poor run support over the course of the season, to knock them out of the playoffs before today. And there is still no joy in Toronto, as a cloud continues to form over the club.