The Blue Jays (67-51, 1st AL East) are rolling into the Bronx today for a three-game series with the Yankees (60-57, 4th AL East). It has been quite some time since we’ve faced the Yankees on the field going all the way back to the end of May when Toronto swept New York at the Rogers Centre.
The Jays have won five of their last six series and will be looking to cause some damage in New York. As long as Toronto can keep winning each series, their lead in the East will grow and put them in good postseason position.
After a rough start this year, the Yankees have been turning things around. Only 4.5 games back in the wild card race, they still have enough time remaining to make a run for the playoffs. The Yankees’ home record is 34-25, so the Jays will have to be on their game to pick up some wins in front of the hostile Yankee Stadium crowd.
The Meetings on the Mound
Game 1: R.A. Dickey (8-12, 4.61 ERA) vs. Chad Green (1-2, 4.94 ERA)
Let’s hope that the knuckler is dancing today as R.A. Dickey takes the mound. There are a lot of factors that can affect the knuckleball, such as humidity level, barometric pressure, tide levels and the angle of tilt of the earth’s axis. We are all hoping that everything is lining up for Dickey tonight as the Jays need him to start picking up some more wins.
Chad Green has been in and out of the majors this season as well as in and out of the bullpen. Green throws a hard four-seamed fastball which has led to 30 strikeouts in 27.1 innings. However, Green surrenders a lot of hits and walks leading to a 1.46 WHIP and opposing batters are hitting .280.
Game 2: Marco Estrada (7-5, 2.95 ERA) vs. Michael Pineda (6-10, 5.01 ERA)
Although his record may not reflect it, Estrada has been incredibly stingy with runs, hits and walks. He has an ERA that is under 3 and his WHIP is an elite 1.04 which is the fourth best in the AL. The long ball has been somewhat of a problem for Marco. In 20 appearances this season, he has allowed 15 HR. Estrada has not received much run support in his starts, which is the main reason he has only picked up seven wins so far. The Jays will need to put up some numbers against Pineda to help Estrada get the win.
After much trade chatter before the deadline, Michael Pineda ended up staying with the Yankees, but has failed to live up to his potential this season. If the Jays are patient at the plate with the big right-hander, he will make enough mistakes for Toronto batters to capitalize on.
Game 3: J.A. Happ (16-3, 2.96 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (7-9, 4.20 ERA)
Wednesday is a travel day for both teams, please note the afternoon start. With a league-leading 16 wins, Happ has been flying under the radar of many baseball analysts. If he keeps picking up wins and putting up impressive numbers, it will be hard to keep him off Cy Young award lists anywhere. Happ’s home splits are slightly better than away games. However, in his May 26th start at Yankee Stadium, Happ picked up the win going 7.0 innings and only giving up one run on five hits with five strikeouts.
The iconic CC Sabathia may not have the stuff he once did, but when all things are clicking for him he can still be dangerous on the mound. Coming off a string of rough starts, CC is due for a couple of good games but he will have his work cut out for him facing a potent Blue Jays lineup.
Player to Watch
Other than Devon Travis, who has been on fire, one of the most valuable pieces on the roster has been Edwin Encarnation. Since the all-star break, Edwin has picked up 29 hits in 103 at-bats. Of those hits, 10 have been home runs building on his league leading 97 RBIs. As a base-runner he is invaluable due to his ability to read the defense and get himself into scoring position. When Edwin is seeing the ball well, it’s difficult for any pitcher to hold him down. Let’s hope that his vision is 20-20 for this series.
After the recent retirement of Alex Rodriguez, it’s a shame that Blue Jays fans won’t have one last chance to boo A-Rod at the Rogers Centre. You have to respect his career numbers, which are phenomenal. While he may be hated throughout the league by fans for his controversy, positive tests and general douchebaggery, I will always hate A-Rod for what he did to our Howie Clark and Johnny Mac. See video below.