As far as regular season games go, the Yankees’ next series is about as do-or-die as you can get. Going into the last week of the season, the Yankees are sitting in position for the first wild card spot, a single game up on the Red Sox. After sweeping the Red Sox at Fenway to reclaim the top wild card position, the Yankees have to be riding high, but this upcoming series against the Toronto Blue Jays may be even more important – the Jays are nipping the heels of both Boston and New York, just two games behind the Yankees and one behind the Sox, and the Yankees will be tasked with this formidable squad while the Red Sox take on the 50-106 Baltimore Orioles.
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Dwelling on an embarrassing series loss to the Orioles will do the Yankees no good with the upstart Blue Jays coming to town. Toronto trails the Yanks by four in the loss column entering this four game series in the Bronx, making these games quite pivotal. Either the Yankees can bury Toronto, or the Blue Jays will force the Yankees to fend them off for at least a bit longer.
These two sides haven’t squared off since mid-June, when the Yankees swept Toronto in a three-game set in Buffalo. Depending on how this week’s slate goes, the three games to end the month between these two teams in Toronto could be awfully interesting. But first, let’s preview this upcoming series:
Buffalo is the home of this week’s three-game series between the Yankees and Blue Jays. Toronto moved to upstate New York after playing their early-season home games in Dunedin, Florida. Early spring weather isn’t always the best in Buffalo, you know. Anyway, the Yankees badly need to right the ship, starting with this series. Let’s break down the Bombers’ opponent.
The Yankees and Blue Jays are going in polar opposite directions. The Bombers have won six straight, whereas Toronto has lost six in a row. Perhaps both streaks can be extended to nine by the end of play on Thursday. That would be nice. It’s been a while since the Yankees last faced Toronto, who went 4-2 vs. New York in early April. Let’s catch up with where Charlie Montoyo’s club stands.
Well it only took 11 days for the Yankees to see the same opponent twice. After starting the year against the Blue Jays in New York, the Yankees will face off against them again in their home of
Toronto Dunedin. This tweet from Jayson Stark sums it up nicely:
Their story so far
Just like the Yankees, the Blue Jays are off to a 4-5 start and are yet to sweep a series or be swept. After taking two of three from the Bombers, the Blue Jays promptly lost two out of three to both the Rangers and Angels.
Two main storylines have emerged for the Blue Jays thus far. First, as we’ll get to more in a moment, are the injuries. In addition to the typical injuries Derek discussed in the last series preview, the Blue Jays are currently dealing with players on the COVID-19 IL. Both Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernández have been placed on that IL – vaccine side effects for Gurriel Jr. meaning he could return as soon as he feels better and exposure for Hernández who will miss this series.
Second is the Blue Jays current home at their Spring Training site in Dunedin. It was surmised that this bandbox will lead to lots of runs, and through three games so far, 36 runs have been scored. Look for offense and lots of it over the next few days. And of course, cue the complaints about the games taking too damn long. Now that I’ve said that, you can expect three straight pitching duels.