Location: Rogers Center, Toronto, Canada
Yankees Overall Record: 35-22
Series LVP: Mark Teixeira (see below)
Quote of the series: comes from Joe Girardi on Mark Teixeira's struggles throughout the season.
“I think sometimes when you see players of Tex’s caliber, you think it’s easy,” Girardi said. “It’s not easy. It’s tough, and you go through physical battles. You go through mental battles. There’s a lot of things you have to fight through. When a guy like Tex is where he’s at right now, we’re all a little bit surprised because we haven’t seen it, but it happens.”The trip to Toronto, the first series the two teams have played against each other all season, was rather unforgettable for the Bombers
On Friday, AJ Burnett had his first truly bad start of the season since the Boston series in early April. Burnett could not seem to get anyone out, allowing six runs in six innings. Compared to his last start in which he had zero walks, Burnett had four, which for him is still pretty remarkable. Unfortunately when his pitches missed, he paid severely. The majority of the runs that were given up were via home run. Toronto leads the league in home runs, so it was not that big of a surprise. As for the offense, the Yankees would have been better leaving their bats behind in New York. Rookie Brett Cecil held the Yankees to just one innings, which is pretty amazing considering the offense came off the dismal pitching staff of the Orioles.
Saturday's game, a 14-inning affair, came down to the battle of the bullpens between the two teams. Unfortunately for the Yankees, they wasted another phenomenal start by starting pitcher Andy Pettitte, denying him his eighth victory of the year. Pettitte pitched into the eighth inning once again and allowed just two runs. He struck out ten, which he hasn't done in many many years and lowered his earned run average to 2.47. The only offense of the day came via a Derek Jeter two-run home run. The Toronto pitching staff was able to keep the Yankees from scoring again, which wasn't too difficult, as New York could not seem to string together hits when men were on base. Chad Gaudin eventually gave up the winning run in the bottom of the 14th inning.
Sunday's game brought the Bomber's first win of the series while also allowing the offense to score more then two runs. Javier Vazquez finally got his record back to .500 by earning his fifth win of the season. Vazquez had one of his best games, going five innings and allowed only two runs, while striking out nine. Joba Chamberlain returned to his role of the MIA eighth inning relief man, and allowed one run in just a third of an inning. Manager Joe Girardi was thrown out in the eighth inning for arguing a third called strike call against right fielder Nick Swisher. In that same inning, second baseman Robinson Cano hit the go ahead two run single. The team was held scoreless before the eighth inning, when Brett Gardner scored on a wild pitch and Derek Jeter also hit a RBI double. Mariano Rivera earned his 14th save of the season.
So who was the biggest goat of the series? None other then Mark Teixeira, the first baseman who has not been able to hit anything this season. Teixeira had many opportunities to pick up his team throughout the series when there were runners on base but, like the majority of the season he couldn't come up with the big hit. Teixeira had one of his roughest games of the year on Saturday, by going 0-5 with five strikeouts. Girardi needs to seriously considering moving Teixeira out of the three-hole until he can find his swing. Seriously what is the point of having a hitter in the three hole strikeout every time before the clean up hitter, Alex Rodriguez can even make it up to the plate?
Next Up: The Yankees head to Baltimore for a three game series against the Orioles. I will personally be seeing Phil Hughes pitch against Kevin Millwood tomorrow!