After losing five straight games to fall out of first place in the AL East, the Yankees have now won two straight, including a much-needed 4-3 win over Toronto on Friday night – a game in which they trailed 3-0 in the eighth inning.
MLB Network analyst Elliott Kalb called the loss “totally deflating for the Blue Jays,” who fell a half game back of the Yankees (63-51) in the division. David Price pitched out of jams throughout the evening, but the game swung on a three-run homer by Carlos Beltran.
“Price wants the ball,” Kalb said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He wants to go deep in the game. He didn’t seem like he was losing any velocity, but the Yankees, give them a lot of credit. They finally got to Price. They were hitting the ball hard on the button seemingly all night long.”
After falling off a cliff, the Yankees – who were swept by the Jays last weekend to begin their five-game skid – are starting to climb back up.
“You know what it reminds me of?” Kalb asked. “It reminds me – and I was a kid rooting for the Yankees, but the Boston Massacre – what the Yankees did to the Red Sox in ’78. The Red Sox had a 10-game lead in July (and lost it). I thought David Price was going to shut down the Yankees twice (in a week). This could be a weekend, depending on what happens, that people will remember in Toronto and in baseball the next 25, 30 years from now.”
Whatever happens, at least fans are flocking to the Rogers Centre once more.
“It’s so unexpected for me,” Kalb said. “Just three years ago in the summer of 2012, I took my wife and kids to Niagara Falls on vacation. I said, ‘We got to drive to Toronto and see a game at the Rogers Centre,’ and we (did). It was a beautiful weekend day and I’m telling you, there were crickets. There was nobody around. I’m saying, ‘This is the place they put four million in (during) the early ’90s.?’ It was dead. This was three years ago. They had no interest in Toronto, and I can’t believe now the TV ratings and the fans coming out – it must be a terrific thing. Because it’s a great city and it’s beautiful. It reminds me a lot of New York – like a clean New York.”
Or, in the words of Scott Ferrall, “New York without hate.”
That drew quite a chuckle from Kalb.
In any event, while the Yankees, Blue Jays and Royals, among other teams, could make a run at the World Series in the AL, the Cardinals are clear favorites in the NL – or so say the experts. Ferrall, however, isn’t buying it. He feels the Mets, Cubs and Dodgers all have realistic chances of beating the Cardinals in the playoffs.
“I can’t see (the Cardinals winning with ease), either,” he said. “I know in the past that the Cardinals save stood up to Clayton Kershaw and beaten him rather soundly, but I can’t believe that (the Dodgers) wouldn’t turn the tales this year. The Dodgers, it’s an embarrassment that you can have this big a payroll and that many resources and have this many holes in their lineup and in their pitching staff. They got two-and-a-half pitchers, really – two starters – and they still haven’t addressed (how to get to their closer). But I still think the Giants, the Cubs (and) the Mets (could give the Cardinals a run).”