It was a step back after two steps forward for James Paxton.
After getting roughed up for six runs in 2 2/3 innings by the Mets on June 11, Paxton had turned in two consecutive quality efforts — quelling fears of a June swoon for the Yankee lefthander. But, then came Wednesday. Paxton didn’t have it from the get-go in the Yankees’ final game at Yankee Stadium before the All-Star break. The Yankees offense bailed him out, though — dealing Paxton a no-decision and themselves an 8-7 walk-off victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on a picture perfect summer day in the Bronx.
Paxton allowed six runs and eight hits, struck out three, walked four and yielded three home runs in 4 1/3 innings.
“I just wasn’t getting ahead in counts and was just falling behind guys and not making good pitches,” Paxton said.
Paxton said that he’s struggled to find his rhythm at times this season. He is 5-3 with a 4.34 ERA in 13 starts.
“I’m not making good pitches consistently,” Paxton said. “Facing major-league hitters, if you’re not making good pitches, they’re going to make you pay.”
After opening the game with two walks, Paxton watched as Lourdes Gurriel Jr. smashed a three-run home run to left to give the Blue Jays a 3-0 lead. Paxton struck out the next three batters to limit the damage. But, the long ball beat Paxton twice more. Danny Jansen, the ninth hitter in the Blue Jays lineup, launched a two-run shot in the second inning that gave Toronto a 5-0 lead and Gurriel Jr. got him again in the fifth to put Toronto up 6-5. Two batters later — a walk and a line out -— and Paxton’s day was done.
Obviously, walking the first two guys of the game gets you in trouble,“ Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I don’t think he quite had the power with his fastball or bite with his breaking ball. He wasn’t dictating counts like he would like to. So, it was a little bit of a rough day, but he was at least able to get us into the fifth inning after struggling. But, all and all, he was a little off today.”
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Despite two out of Paxton’s last four outings being subpar, Boone said he is not concerned about him.
“I really do think he’s going to take off,” Boone said. “As long as he remains healthy, he’s going to pitch well. Even a day like today, he’s still close. He can go out there and dominate any lineup when he’s pitching well. These are going to happen. But, as far as my confidence in him, I really feel good about him going on a really good run for us at some point.”