Series Preview: Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees (6/24-6/26)

The Yankees are rolling, having won eight of their last nine games as they welcome the Toronto Blue Jays to the Bronx for a quick three-game series. The Yanks are 1-2 so far against the Jays, having last played them in early June. It’s worth noting, however, that this is a very different Yankees team than the one that started out this month.  

Toronto comes in struggling, as they come in at 8-13 in the month of June and are currently a whopping 20.5 games back of first place in the American League East. However, they did just take two out of three from the Boston Red Sox, which gives them a bit of momentum heading into this series. They are a slightly better team on the road than at home, with a .385 winning percentage in away games as compared to .342 at the Rogers Centre. Hitting has been an issue for Toronto, as they are well below league average in most major hitting categories and dead-last in team batting average. Pitching has also not been a strong suit, as they lead the majors in walks and are sitting near the bottom in team ERA and WHIP.  
Astros Yankees Baseball
Photo courtesy of AP/Frank Franklin II
Game One: Monday, June 24th 7:05 PM 
Aaron Sanchez (3-9, 5.49 ERA) vs CC Sabathia (4-4, 4.14 ERA) 
Sanchez has lost each of his last eight decisions, however he pitches well against the Yankees, as he is 2-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 15 career games and five starts against them. Sabathia is coming off his 250th career win, having come against the Rays, and has yet to face Toronto this season. 

Game Two: Tuesday, June 25th 7:05 PM 
Clayton Richard (0-3, 7.46 ERA) vs Chad Green (1-2, 6.23 ERA) 
Richard is really struggling this year, as evidenced by the numbers. He hasn’t pitched a ton of innings after recovering from a knee injury, only 25.1, but in his last outing against the Angels, he threw five innings and allowed four earned runs on six hits with just two strikeouts. This will likely be another bullpen day for the Yankees, so Chad Green will open and likely make way for Nestor Cortes Jr., who has been brilliant in such outings this year. The Yanks have yet to lose on these bullpen days this season. 

Game Three: Wednesday, June 26th 1:05 PM 
Trent Thornton (2-5, 4.25 ERA) vs James Paxton (5-3, 3.75 ERA) 
Thornton pitched well in his last start, limiting the Red Sox to two runs on eight hits while striking out seven. He pitches much better on the road, as well, with a 2.96 ERA in away games compared to a 6.39 ERA at home. Paxton has won back-to-back starts, with a 2.45 ERA in those two games combined with 14 strikeouts and four walks. Paxton allowed four runs over 4 2/3 innings vs. the Blue Jays on June 5 in Toronto. 
Astros Yankees Baseball
Photo courtesy of AP/Frank Franklin II 
This is by no means a throwaway series for New York, as each game represents potential ground to gain over the rest of the division, and it’s an opportunity for guys like Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton to get their bats really going before traveling across the pond for two games in London against the Red Sox.

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