Results tagged ‘ Aaron Laffey ’

More blues for the Jays

The news keeps getting grimmer for the Blue Jays, who after all their off-season moves had been considered favorites to win the American League East. Toronto went into Friday night’s game at Yankee Stadium with a 9-14 record and last-place standing in the division and had to scratch the scheduled starting pitcher, Josh Johnson, because of tight right triceps.

Inserted into Johnson’s spot was lefthander Aaron Laffey, whom the Blue Jays signed earlier in the week off waivers from the Mets. Laffey made two starts and two relief appearances for the Mets and had a 7.20 ERA in 10 innings during which he allowed eight earned runs and 16 hits but was not involved in a decision.

Johnson is the second player in the major, off-season trade with the Marlins who has gone down with an injury. Shortstop Jose Reyes is expected to be lost for up to three months with a severe ankle injury. Johnson has not exactly been lighting it up for the Jays this year. The righthander, who led the National League in earned run average three years ago, is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts. Johnson has allowed 28 hits in 19 2/3 innings.

With Kevin Youkilis still unable to play due to persistent back stiffness, Yankees manager Joe Girardi continues to toy with his batting order, particularly against left-handed pitching. Friday night, he moved Jayson Nix into the 2-hole, which is not a bad thought considering the way Nix has hit against left-handed pitching this season (.316) and against Toronto the past two seasons.

Nix, who has done a solid job as a backup shortstop and third basemen, spent the 2011 season with the Blue Jays and batted only .169 in 136 at-bats. The Yankees signed him for a utility role in 2012, and Nix has given his former club headaches ever since. With two hits Thursday night, Nix lifted his average against the Blue Jays this year to .417 in 12 at-bats and over the past two seasons to .370 with five doubles, three runs batted in and 12 runs scored.

Vernon Wells, who spent 12 seasons with the Blue Jays before he was traded to the Angels in 2011, has also wreaked havoc against his former club. Wells connected for his seventh home run of the season Thursday night, a majestic shot over the center field wall. In four games against the Jays this year, Wells had batted .421 with five runs, three home runs and four RBI in 19 at-bats.

Over an 11-game stretch against Toronto dating to Sept. 19, 2011, Wells has been a .340 hitter with nine runs, four doubles, five home runs and 10 RBI in 47 at-bats. It may not get any easier for the Blue Jays. Wells has batted .444 with three home runs and three RBI in seven day games this year. The Yankees have day games against Toronto Saturday and Sunday.

Strong outing by Colon wasted

Maybe the bright side for the Yankees Friday night is that they did not have to play extra innings for the third day in a row, even though going extras was their only shot at pulling out a victory after they were retired in the ninth with the score 1-1.

There were actual bright sides for the Yankees in the 2-1 loss to the Angels, but not many. The Yankees got to play in ideal weather conditions for a change in the blissful climate of Anaheim, Calif., after two long games on wet tracks in the Bronx and Baltimore.

The Elias Sports Bureau pointed out that the Yankees’ back-to-back losses to the Orioles at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night and at Camden Yards Thursday marked the second time in major-league history that a team lost in extra innings on consecutive days to the same team in different ballparks. It also occurred April 19 and 20, 1900 when the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, 19-17, in 10 innings at the South End Grounds in Boston and at Philadelphia’s Baker Bowl the next day, 5-4, in 11 innings.

The recent toll on the bullpen left the Yankees vulnerable as manager Joe Girardi trusted the ninth inning to Aaron Laffey and Luis Ayala. The Angels loaded the bases against them on two singles and a hit batter with none out, which allowed pinch hitter Maicer Izturis to win the game with a sacrifice fly to medium center field. Curtis Granderson didn’t even attempt a throw to combat speedy pinch runner Jeremy Moore. Curtis should have thrown home anyway. You never know; Moore might have tripped or fallen down.

Granderson’s career-high 11 assists are the most by a Yankees center fielder since 2007 when Melky Cabrera had 14. Granderson had two assists Thursday, the first Yankees center fielder to do that since Omar Moreno in 1984

The Yankees’ failure to generate any kind of offense against American League Cy Young Award candidate Jered Weaver wasted a strong pitching performance by Bartolo Colon, who remained winless in seven starts since July 30. Colon is 0-3 with four no-decisions and a 4.19 ERA during this stretch, but he was flawless Friday night allowing six hits and a walk with five strikeouts in seven innings. The only run he allowed was not earned due to a throwing error by Derek Jeter.

The shortstop’s wild throw in the fifth that proved costly when Howie Kendrick got a two-out, RBI single marked the sixth straight game in which the Yankees have committed an error. The Yankees have 11 errors in nine games in September, one more than they had in all of August (28 games).

Jesus Montero continued his sizzling September (.350 in 20 at-bats) with a long home run to left field off Weaver leading off the third inning. It was the third home run for Montero, all of which have come off right-handed pitchers. Girardi started Montero as the designated hitter against a righthander for the first time. Expect that to happen on a regular basis.

Andruw Jones, who usually is the DH against righties, played right field because Nick Swisher is down with a painful left elbow. The switch-hitter is a left-handed thrower, so the situation bears very close watching.

Montero was the only Yankees batter to get past first base against Weaver, who gave up two other hits, both singles, and two walks while striking out 11 in eight innings. He was stuck with a tough no-decision as well. The victory went to rookie closer Jordan Walden, who pitched the ninth. He walked Alex Rodriguez with one out, but the Angels guessed right on a pitchout and catcher Jeff Mathis nailed pinch runner Eduardo Nunez trying to steal second base.

The Yankees’ three-game losing streak is simultaneous with that of Boston, so their lead in the AL East remains 2 ½ games over the Red Sox, which counts as a bright spot.

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