Sep 11, 2015; Bronx, NY, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third basemanJosh Donaldson
(20) celebrates his two-run home run against the New York Yankees with Toronto Blue Jays left fielderBen Revere
(7) and Toronto Blue Jays right fielderJose Bautista
(19) during the first inning at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
When baseball finally got underway in the Bronx Friday evening, it didn’t take long for the Jays to make a bold statement, roughing up Yankees starter Luis Severino for 5 runs in the first inning. In such a critical series, the Jays drew first blood on a Josh Donaldson monster shot to the left field bleachers, followed by a Justin Smoak home run that barely cleared the short porch in right field. The Jays continued to build on their lead throughout the night, with Russell Martin showing signs of life at the plate with two home runs. It’s been a rough stretch for the Jays catcher of late, but if he and Troy Tulowitzki (who had two singles and made solid contact all night long) can really get going offensively, the Jays will continue to be very difficult to stop. Edwin Encarnacion added a two-run shot, and the Jays scored a total of 11 runs on 16 hits.
On the mound, David Price wasn’t at his best, but his 5 innings of two run ball was plenty for the Jays. Despite the extra day off resulting from yesterday’s rain out, John Gibbons opted to pull Price from the game in the sixth after 96 pitches. With a comfortable lead and Price figuring to be the Jays’ workhouse down the stretch and hopefully into the post-season, Gibbons opted not to push the lefty’s pitch count into the 100’s. There was a brief moment of concern when LaTroy Hawkins gave up a three run homer to Didi Gregorius to push the score to 9-5, but Brett Cecil, Mark Lowe and Aaron Loup combined to keep the Yankees at bay. With the double-header tomorrow, it was intriguing how Gibbons decided to use the pen today, given that they could see extensive work over the next two games. That said, it is a sign of confidence that the Jays skipper has in his bullpen and with the off day yesterday, he may have wanted to shake any rust off that may have accumulated with his relievers.
The Yankees, however, had to burn 5 of their relievers for mop up duty after Severino was lifted from the game. Outside of Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller, the Jays bullpen appears to have more depth in comparison to the Yankees, so the next couple of days could be very interesting to see how Joe Girardi manages the workload.