Yankees seek to score more in rubber game vs. Blue Jays

MLB

The New York Yankees know hitting isn’t as easy as they made it look the previous four seasons. But they’d like to make it look a little less difficult than they’ve done thus far in 2021.

The Yankees will look to snap out of their early season doldrums Wednesday afternoon, when they’re scheduled to face the Toronto Blue Jays in the rubber game of a three-game series at the Blue Jays’ spring training site in Dunedin, Fla.

Corey Kluber (0-1, 5.68 ERA) is slated to take the mound for the Yankees against Ross Stripling (0-1, 7.56 ERA) in a battle of right-handers.

Hyun-Jin Ryu carried a shutout into the seventh inning Tuesday night, and Marcus Semien and Rowdy Tellez hit solo homers as the Blue Jays earned a 7-3 win.

The Yankees hit into three double plays in falling to 1-5 when scoring three runs or fewer. New York has scored 44 runs this season, tied for the sixth-fewest in the AL.

The Yankees led the American League in runs scored the last two seasons and collected three runs or fewer 40 times in 2019, the most recent 162-game campaign and the first of back-to-back seasons in which it led the American League in runs scored.

That two-year stretch came after the Yankees ranked second in the AL in runs scored in 2017 and 2018. The current lineup features five everyday players from the 2018 squad — Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres — as well as DJ LeMahieu, who won the AL batting crown last year after finishing second during his first season in New York in 2019.

“Hitting’s hard — it’s a game of failure,” Boone said. “We haven’t collectively strung really good at-bats together like we’re capable of yet. It’s frustrating anytime you’re not scoring you know the way we’re capable of. You’ve just really got to keep your nose down and really just continue to have and work for having quality at-bats and trust that the results will follow from there.”

Across the field, the Blue Jays enjoyed top-to-bottom production Tuesday, when the first through fifth batters in their lineup went 8-for-19 while No. 7 batter Rowdy Tellez hit a homer and No. 9 hitter Josh Palacios opened the scoring with a two-run single in the second inning.

Palacios is filling in for Teoscar Hernandez, who is out for at least 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday, while the homer was the first this season for Tellez after he hit 33 homers in his first 169 big league games from 2018-2020.

“He can be the Rowdy Tellez that carried us last year at the end before he got hurt (Sept. 8),” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We know it’s in there.”

Kluber took the defeat last Friday when he gave up five runs (three earned) over 2 1/3 innings as the Yankees fell to the Tampa Bay Rays, 10-5. Stripling didn’t factor into the decision last Thursday, when he allowed four runs over five innings in the Blue Jays’ 7-5, 11-inning loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Kluber is 2-3 with a 4.24 ERA in seven starts against the Blue Jays. Stripling is 0-3 with a 5.40 ERA in four games (one start) against the Yankees.

–Field Level Media

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