New York Yankees Recap: J.A. Happ’s 113 pitch game spoiled by no Yankee offense

New York Yankees, J.A. Happ

The New York Yankees lost a second game to the Toronto Blue Jays last night in Buffalo, 2-1. In that game, J.A. Happ made a herculean effort to win a game for the Yankees, by throwing 113 pitches over 6.1 innings allowing only 4 hits while striking out 10 Jays.  He made one mistake in the game, allowing Jonathan Davis to homer to deep left-center, scoring Joe Panik at the bottom of the second inning.  Other than that you can only describe Happ’s performance as terrific.

On a day that started with General Manager Brian Cashman, just hours before the game making a rare appeal to the team in a meeting, to get going with only  19 games remaining in the season. Because there was no offense in the game, I won’t do a play by play, but try to figure out what is wrong with a team that suffered similar injuries last year, and rose to the occasion.

This year when the Yankees pitch well, they don’t hit.  When they hit, the pitching fails, either from the starters or the bullpen or both.  The Yankees just can’t get it together, and not from a lack of trying. Manager Aaron Boone works with players, coaches are working with players, and nothing is clicking.  It is unexplainable how a team that was favored to take it all, has just plain collapsed.

Even when they do hit, they can’t bring runs home and continually leave men on base. Last night in the first five innings they put 11 men on base, but could only score once.  They left the bases loaded twice. After that, the offense just wasn’t present, the last 10 Yankee batters all went quietly into the Buffalo night, all outs. The only run scored was in the bottom of the fifth inning.  With Luke Voit on base, Mike Tauchman hit a sacrifice fly, driving in Voit. Other than the Yankees went 0-7 with runners in scoring position.

It is getting painful to watch these games, and even more painful to watch manager Aaron Boone, in after-game interviews, try to explain why the Yankees aren’t winning games.  There is no question that the absence of key players, like sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton has had a very detrimental impact on the offensive lineup.  Timely hitters like Gio Urshela being on the IL doesn’t help either.

What makes this so confusing is that last year the New York Yankees had an unprecedented number of injuries, but the “next man up” mentality stepped up and got the job done, winning 103 games. This year with mostly the same group the offense has failed miserably. The pitching from starters to the bullpen have been sub-par. There are injuries there as well, but plenty of arms to make up for it, but when they do perform they get no run support. The Yankees have also lost the last four starts of ace Gerrit Cole.

I could be that a key player in the middle of that lineup, just isn’t performing at all.  One of the most impactful players for the club should be the slugging Gary Sanchez.  He is batting only .130 and has left more Yankees on base than another player.  The Yankees that highly support Sanchez, even sat him for two games, so he could work on this hitting and get his mind right. In his first game back last night he went 0-4.  Watching him flail at balls, is like watching a deer in the headlights.

This is too talented of a team to be going 5-15 in their last 20 games.  They have slipped behind the Blue Jays and are now a .500 team that has gone 2-8 in their last ten games. They are presently holding down the 8th spot in the AL postseason. But any combination of two Yankee losses and two Baltimore Orioles wins, and they will slip from a postseason appearance.  Just like the Yankees performance is unexplainable, they have to have an equally unexplainable and magical string of wins during these last 19 games of the season.

Tonight, the New York Yankees will face the Blue Jays again, with sensation Deivi Garcia on the mound. After tonight’s game, they will travel back to the Stadium for four games against those Baltimore Orioles. Along with a series against the Tampa Bay Rays and the Miami Marlins, they still have seven more games to play against the Blue Jays.