Blue Jays @ Yankees Series Preview

This the last series of the home stand for the Yankees before they hit the road again and they will be playing host to the Toronto Blue Jays.  Since splitting a two game set with the Bombers last week (really should have been a sweep, but Mo blew the first game), they have gone 4-3, taking one out of three from the Rays and taking three out of four from the Rangers.  They now sit in third place in the very tight American League East at 12-13 and are 3.5 games out of first place.

Hopefully, Nova knocks him down again. (ESPN)

What has carried this team so far is its starting pitching as its hitting has been nothing special, except for one player: Jose Bautista.  After a 54-homer season in 2010, everyone was eager to see if he could even come close to it again or it was going to be the same thing as Brady Anderson in 1996.  Well, Bautista has lived up to the hype so far in 2011.  He is hitting .360/.529/.760 with 8 homers, 13 RBI’s, and a ridiculous 26 walks.  He is probably going to win the Player of the Month Award and is someone the Yanks pitchers need to stay away from.

Other than him, no one else has really shined.  Juan Rivera and Adam Lind have started to heat up recently, but overall their offense has been nothing compared to what it was last season, basically in the middle of the pack in most categories.  Lucky for them, they won’t be facing Bartolo Colon in this series.  Here’s the projected lineup:

  1. Yunel Escobar, SS
  2. Corey Patterson, CF
  3. Jose Bautista, RF
  4. Adam Lind, 1B
  5. Adam Hill, 2B
  6. JP Arencibia, C
  7. Travis Snider, LF
  8. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
  9. Jayson Nix, 3B

Yankees pitchers just need to continue what they are doing and that is just pithing well and smart.  Just keep throwing strikes and changing speeds and they’ll be fine.  i know it sounds very simple and basic, but that is what has made them so good over the last week.  Also, with a well-rested bullpen, they should be even better off.  Here’s a look at the pitching match-ups:

Friday

Ricky Romero (1-3, 3.00 ERA) vs. Freddy Garcia (1-0, 0.69 ERA)

Saturday

Kyle Drabek (2-0, 3.30 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (3-1, 3.52 ERA)

Sunday

Jesse Litsch (2-1, 3.86 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-2, 5.82 ERA)

In tonight’s pitching match-up, look out for Freddy Garcia to see if he keeps up his superb pitching.  He has been great so good by just throwing junk, changing speeds, and hitting corners.  I think part of the reason for his effectiveness is the fact that he is sandwiched between CC Sabathia and AJ Burnett, two hard throwers.  Saturday’s game is the same as the first game of the first series.  A match-up the Yankees should have won.  And Sunday it will be interesting to see how Ivan Nova pitches after pitching into the seventh inning for the first time in his career.  Also, since Millwood got bombed last night, there is less pressure on him.  We’ll see how that bodes for him.

He's gotta keep hitting the snot out of the ball. (Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)

Offensively, the Bombers just have to do what they did yesterday.  They need to be patient and find ways to get people on base, and they will find a way to score, especially against Drabek.  They beat him last time because they made him beat himself by taking a lot of pitches and he wasn’t able to throw quality strikes. Hopefully, Mark Teixeira will be back tonight and maybe we’ll see Frankie Cervelli at some point.

Anyway, in tonight’s game, Andruw Jones will be the designated hitter and Jorge Posada will be given a day off against the lefty Romero.  First pitch will be at 7:05 on YES.

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