Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Struggle vs. Lefty

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Yankees Struggle vs. Lefty

Article excerpt

TORONTO -- Any retelling of the Yankees' late-summer fade in 2015 begins with David Price's acquisition by the Blue Jays, and the Bombers' vulnerability against left-handers -- even those with a fraction of his talent.

The Yanks have a far more balanced lineup this spring, but a well- worn story line played out Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.

Lefty starter J.A. Happ held the Yankees to one run over six innings in Toronto's 7-2 win, a close game broken up by the Blue Jays with four runs in the eighth off reliever Ivan Nova.

And yet, the Yankees (4-3) managed to console themselves by looking at the calendar and recalling the noisy outs they made under the closed roof, before 27,938 fans.

"We had some hard-hit balls and just couldn't string enough together," said Mark Teixeira. "[We] couldn't get any kind of momentum."

Teixeira's solo homer against right-hander Drew Storen off the right field foul pole cut Toronto's lead to 3-2 in the eighth. But Nova's second relief appearance this season was a complete bust.

Starting the bottom half of the inning, Nova gave up five hits -- including doubles to Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista (RBI) and Michael Saunders. He also hit a batter and tossed a wild pitch.

"He just really struggled," manager Joe Girardi said of Nova, a starter-by-trade who narrowly lost the No. 5 spot to CC Sabathia. Nova tossed four scoreless relief innings against Houston last week, "but we've got to be able to use him in some different situations."

Two of the Yanks' three losses this season have come against lefties, beginning with Dallas Keuchel on opening day.

However, "I don't expect this will be a pattern," Girardi said of 2016 improvements -- such as adding Starlin Castro and having a healthy Teixeira.

"You don't want to run into a couple pitchers in a row that just shut you down because they're left-handed or right-handed - either way," Teixeira said. …

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