London ball

Bombs Away: Blue Jays no match for sizzling Yankees

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New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone had two answers when asked about the background to his team’s torrid start.

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First the casualness:

“I’d say I’d take it,” Boone said when asked what his response would be if, in spring training, it was suggested his team could have sprinted to a 48-16 record.

And then the most reasoned:

“If someone had said I would have dismissed it and just said I wasn’t going to play this game,” Boone said ahead of a 12-3 win over the Blue Jays on Friday night at Rogers Center, a blitz flash that exposed the weaknesses of the home team and accentuated everything that is right about the Bronx Bombers these days.

“I understand where we are. I understand that we got the start we got off to and the position we’re in…and I’m glad of that, obviously.

“But we also understand as a team and as a group that we haven’t done anything.”

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Nothing more than to tie the third-best start of any major league team in the last 93 years, that is.

Nothing more than racking up a whopping 23-10 record against opponents in the American League East, often referred to as the toughest division in baseball.

And nothing more than a humiliating beating from their closest pursuer in the AL East, a Blue Jays team that looks outdated in many ways — at least compared to the AL ruling class right now.

Ahead of the Yankees’ latest loss – to fall to 3-7 on the season against them – Jays manager Charlie Montoyo refused to attach any additional meaning to a game against an opponent his group is now trailing by 11 games .

Every game matters, the manager said, with the Yankees no different from the Orioles who just finished a 2-2 streak at the Dome.

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It was perhaps the manager’s precursor to dulling the pain of one of the Jays’ most humiliating defeats of the season.

“We didn’t run our pitches,” Montoyo said afterwards. “We threw too many pitches over the heart of home plate. They are just a hot team. “When you play against such a hot team, you have to execute. To have teams like that, you have to throw better.

There is a perception that at some point the Yankees will have to regress and at least suffer through a flat phase, although they have shown no signs of that happening. And the way things are going, it becomes more difficult to understand.

They’ve won eight in a row, are now 15-1 in their last 16, and find themselves a ridiculous 32 games above .500 (48-16) … in June.

In addition to having the best record in baseball, the Yankees are appallingly complete in all phases of the game and are compiling it on a growing sample.

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From a roster that can hit — as evidenced by a three-homer, eight-run fifth capped by an Anthony Rizzo grand slam on Friday — to a deep starting rotation and a powerful bullpen, these Yanks are a juggernaut.

And Boone knows it.

“I feel like we’re singular in this room of what we want to accomplish, what we’re here for,” said Boone, whose team improved to 19-9 on the road. “We want to be champions and that’s what it’s all about.”

A game, sure, but Friday’s loss exposed some of the cracks that have crept into the Jays’ efforts lately.

Let’s just say the Ross Stripling tandem with Trent Thornton to start the game for the Jays probably didn’t spark much fear in the Bombers’ booming bats.

And in front of a crowd of 44,688 here for the first of three weekend meetings, the Yankees didn’t even need to test the back of a Jays bullpen that has had its own challenges lately.

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“I’m not going to sit here and honk my horn…(but) they’ve got almost 50 wins here in mid-June,” Stripling said. “They have one of the lowest ERAs in baseball and a formation that can do damage from first to nine.

“It was on full screen tonight. They’re hot. No doubt about it.”

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GAME OFF

The Jays probably got as much as they could have hoped for from starter Stripling, who allowed five hits but only two runs in 3.2 innings. But as his pitch count rose to 84, Stripling failed to get out of the fourth… That set the stage for Thornton, who had one of his worst outings as Jay. The right-hander allowed home runs to Giancarlo Stanton and DJ LeMahieu and failed to get an out in the fifth before being called off after giving up five earned runs on five hits. The Yankees didn’t finish the inning, however, ending it with a 438-foot Rizzo grand slam to right field from Trevor Richards…. Among the few bright spots for the Jays – a solo homer from Alejandro Kirk in the sixth and three singles from Gabriel Moreno, the last of which was a hit in the field that could be subject to a score change … Many time to turn the record around, but the Jays fell to 11-13 against divisional opponents… With a Joey Gallo homer in the ninth, the Yanks hit the Jays four times to increase their MLB lead to 105 in the register of long balls.

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AROUND THE BASES

You know Bo Bichette was in pain when he couldn’t go on Friday. Diagnosed with a bruised foot after removing a ball from his leg on Thursday, Bichette missed his first game of the season… His absence moved the versatile Santiago Espinal to short while Cavan Biggio started at second base… to be watched on the status of third baseman Matt Chapman, who was back in the lineup on Friday but was diagnosed with an inflamed wrist. Current plans are for Chapman to “play through” the injury while receiving treatment… The Jays won’t see Gerrit Cole this series after all. With Luis Severino off the COVID-19 roster, he will get the start on Sunday… Next, Alek Manoah (8-1, 1.67 ERA) takes on Jameson Taillon (7-1, 2.93) on Saturday at 3:07.

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