The intensity kicked up a notch between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Yankees on Sunday in New York, setting the stage for a potential hotly contested playoff series between the two rivals this fall.
When Jays starter Alek Manoah reached Aaron Judge with a missed pitch, the Bronx Bombers dugout nearly emptied with Gerrit Cole leading the battalion, visibly annoyed by the situation. Had it not been for Judge's presence of mind, who calmed the spirits with a wave of his hand, the spectators would probably have been treated to a free-for-all.
However, if he indicates that he had not voluntarily reached Judge, Manoah did not hesitate to throw oil on the fire, going there with a small point towards Cole. The latter, who had started the previous match, had already shown signs of frustration with a few punches to the ceiling of the club's enclosure the day before.
“I've been struggling with my drop ball for five or six starts now,” Manoah first explained of the pitch in question, according to comments collected by the Sportsnet network on Sunday. I fired a throw and obviously hit Judge. I looked at him and said, “I wasn't trying to do that.”
When Judge was reached, Cole was the most talkative when he decided to take to the field.Physically restrained by a trainer, the artilleryman, however, contented himself with making a few remarks, without, however, going beyond an Audi advertisement drawn on the edge of the field.
“I think if Gerrit wants to do something, he just has to walk further than the Audi logo,” added Manoah.
When asked to comment on the situation, Cole said is content to say that this shot was one too many after Manoah grazed several of his teammates.
Anyway, the Blue Jays have won three of their four games at Yankee Stadium. Results that are encouraging, since the two clubs could find themselves in the playoffs.
Thus, it was a good test for Manoah, who had to stay focused in order to help his team win the game. The Blue Jays ultimately lost that fourth and final game of this series, but Manoah believes good things can be taken away.
“Being able to come into a hostile environment and get some big wins, I think it's a big boost for confidence in the future,” said the pitcher.
-On Monday off, the Blue Jays will travel to Boston to begin a three-game series against the Red Sox on Tuesday.