New York Yankees 9/30: 4 Takeaways from Yankees loss to the Blue Jays

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga
Sep 30, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (38) walks off of the field after the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

After an incredible run of winning seven games in a row, the New York Yankees hoped to win another one last night by taking the series from the Blue Jays. The Yankees swept the Red Sox and retook the number one berth in the wild card race, gaining home-field advantage and putting the Red Sox two games behind. With five games to go in the regular season, the Yankees sent their ace Gerrit Cole to the mound at Roger’s Center in Toronto to face the Jays Jose Berrios. At the end of the night, Berrios acted like the Toronto ace and Gole didn’t; the Yankees lost when Bo Bichette hit a homer in the eighth, the Blue Jays edged the Yankees 6-5.

Gerrit Cole is no longer a sure thing

The outlook for New York Yankee ace has changed. After three poor games in a row, when Cole takes the mound, there is no reason to believe the Yankees will win the game. Please make no mistake about it; he is still probably the Yankee’s best starter, but it appears that he has tired; he is not as sharp and not as quick to make the adjustments that he is known to create.

In the past month, Cole lost as many games as he has won; his last three are the worst of the month as the team tries desperately to be in the postseason for a chance at a 28th World Series win. On September 24th, he got a win going six innings only giving up three runs. But also walked three and was taken out before giving up another two runs. In the other two games, he gave up 12 runs, including five home runs. Last night he gave up two home runs, and a total of five earned runs as the Yankees winning streak ended. Cole’s September ERA is 5.13, not the signature of an ace.

Pitching: Who’s hot and who’s not

To the delight of Yankee fans, Jonathan Loaisiga was activated and back off the IL. He has been missing from the Yankees bullpen for 22 days. Last night arguably, the Yankees’ best reliever was back, and he announced it at the bottom of the seventh inning against the Jays; Springer struck out on a 99 mph slider. Semien ground out to LeMahieu. Guerrero ground out to LeMahieu for the 1-2-3 inning.

Last night the usually dependable lights out Clay Holmes gave of the losing run when he allowed Bo Bichette his second homer of the night. But due to how he has been pitching, he can mostly be forgiven. Likewise, most of the bullpen has been doing a great job. Andrew Heaney has proven he is not primetime and has been assigned and is now with low-A Tampa. After a period of undependability, Chad Green and closer Aroldis Chapman seem back on track.

Hitting: Who’s hot and who’s not

For most of the season, especially during the last month, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have been on a rip, carrying the team on their backs. Stanton, for the first time in his previous five games, didn’t hit a home run. Judge, for his part last night, did drive in his 95th RBI but was also homerless.

Joey Gallo last night was the poster boy for why the Yankees lost. The ordinarily defensive great let a ball drop in front of him when neither he nor the advancing Gio Urshela called for the ball. Gallo was also 0-2 after being 0-5 the previous night. The bottom line is that neither Gallo nor Rizzo are doing the job the Yankees thought they would when they added them at the trade deadline.

Last night with the hot Brett Gardner due up in the seventh, Boone decided to pinch-hit Luke Voit, that failed as the injury-prone Voit struck out and limped off the field. Gio Urshela has been pretty hot this month, but last night he made what might be the defensive play of the season. He managed to dive for a ground ball, caught it, and threw a laser to Rizzo while lying on his back for an out.

Where do the Yankees stand in the wild card race?

Even with the loss last night, the New York Yankees still own the home-field advantage in the wild card game. But with the Red Sox win last night over the Baltimore Orioles, they are just one game behind. So if the Yankees lose tonight and the Sox win, they will be tied for that first spot. Because the Red Sox have the better season record over the Yankees, the home field advantage would revert to Boston, and the game would be played at Fenway Park.

In the race, the Yankees indeed are watching the Seattle Mariners, as the Mariners are just a half-game out of the wild card, and the Jays are just a half-game behind them. The Yankees must win 3 of the season’s last four games to secure a wild card appearance. In the worst-case scenario, if the Yankees don’t win tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays adding an insult to injury after taking the division could also decide the Yankee’s 2021 wild card fate. The Yankees, to save face, must avoid that at all costs. If the Yankees don’t pitch and hit well in these last games, even “Bronxie” the turtle won’t save them.

 

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