With Oakland slumping (dropping eight of the last nine), the Yankees (on a 9-3 run) and Indians (winners of six straight) have moved a game ahead of the A’s in the Wild Card chase.
Meanwhile, last night’s game-winning single by Felix Escalona handed the Blue Jays their fifth straight loss. On Monday, Toronto manager John Gibbons got ejected whiile arguing a play at the plate. Last night, he stormed into the tunnel leading the visitor’s clubhouse before Escalona even made it to first base (or so it seemed).
Judging by their manager’s behavior, this Blue Jay team appears to be thisclose to a full-fledged slide, which would be good news for the Yankees, who face them eight more times this season including tonight.
Then again, Gibbons could simply be reacting to the fact that over the past two nights his starters have posted this combined line:
13 IP, 12 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 0 HR
But has team has lost because his bullpen has done this:
3 2/3 IP, 9 H, 8 ER, 5 BB, 4 K, 1 HR
Tonight, Gibbons hands the ball to Dave Bush, who failed to make it out of the third inning in his last start against Detroit, then two days later was brought in to finish off a game the Jays were trailing 15-5 and gave up another pair of runs in less than three innings of work. Tonight he faces the Yankees’ anchor, Mike Mussina, who looks like he just might be gearing up for another excellent stretch run. This is one of those “go for the jugular” games. This is the team the Yankees play most over the remainder of the season and a win tonight could break them.