(Good send, Rob... Courtesy of the AP)
Well that was ugly. With Robinson Cano out of the lineup for the first time since 2012 and a struggling Hiroki Kuroda on the mound, the Yankees needed to win last night to save this series and avoid heading home to face the O's with the lights dimming on their postseason hopes again. They didn't do that. They didn't even come close. Whether it's regression or fatigue or injury, Kuroda has nothing right now and he had nothing last night. The game was out of reach before it really got going and the Yanks head into today's off-day needing to regroup.
- The early signs from Kuroda were not positive. He was missing up in the zone with his sinker and out of the zone with his splitter and he needed 30 pitches to get out of the 1st inning with 4 runs on the board. A cross-up between he and Chris Stewart and a subsequent Stewart throwing error on a strikeout led to 2 of the runs and one of the more Bennie Hill music-worthy moments of the season.
- Edwin Encarnacion took Kuroda deep for a 2-run shot in the 2nd, a pair of singles and a sac fly notched a run in the 3rd, and it was 7-0 Jays. There was really no reason for Kuroda to be in the game anymore at that point.
- Yanks had their best chance to make a game out of it in the top of the 4th when a pair of walks and an Alex Rodriguez single put runners on the corners with no outs and a run in. Mark Reynolds plated a second run with a double but a dumb call by Rob Thomson to send A-Rod home from first backfired and stalled the inning.
- There wasn't much else to talk about after that. The Yankee lineup was overmatched by Toronto starter Todd Redmond and his bullpen buddies. They didn't advance a runner to second base after the 4th.
- Joe elected to let Kuroda work his full pitch and he got 2 more scoreless innings out of him. Joba, Shawn Kelley, and Boone Logan finished things up.
- Reynolds: 3-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI. Got the start at second base in place of Cano and handled his business just fine there while putting together a 3-hit night. He's been another nice pickup, albeit one that came too late.
- Kuroda: 5 IP, 9 H, 7 R (5 ER), 1 BB, 4 K. Hirok's ERA has gone up over half a run in his last 2 starts, which gives you an idea of how awful he's been if you haven't seen it for yourself. Velocity doesn't seem to be the problem, so I don't think his arm is tired. Just lost the command of his sinker and the rest of his pitches have suffered as a result.
- Stewart: 0-3, 1 K, 1 LOB. Maybe Kuroda was to blame for the cross-up in the 1st inning, but the pitch he threw was a fastball right down the middle. How do you not catch that??? And then, as a supposed defensive specialist, how do you compound that problem by hitting the batter with your throw to first base????? Putrid. Get me Romine.
Yanks get an off-day today to travel back home and they best get it together for Friday night when Baltimore comes to town. I'm sure they'd love nothing more than to turn out the lights on the Yankees for good this year. CC Sabathia and Miguel Gonzalez are scheduled to be Friday's starting pitchers.