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Series Preview: Battle For First-Yankees @ Blue Jays

The Yankees couldn’t come away with a win in the final game against the Orioles and if it were not for Carlos Beltran, New York would have been swept. However, they are only 1.5 games behind the Jays. With the win, the O’s have also pulled to within 1.5 games of the blue birds. As New York now heads to Toronto, they really need to take advantage of the struggling Jays, who have also been hit by the injury bug. Brett Lawrie is heading to the disabled list with a broken hand, and Jose Bautista is day-to-day with a sore leg which is big for the bombers.                        

                    

                                         Probable Pitching Match-ups

     Yankees                                              @                                             Blue Jays

Chase Whitley             Monday, June 23rd: 7:07 pm EST           Marcus Stroman

 David Phelps            Tuesday, June 24th:  7:07 pm EST               Mark Buehrle

 Hiroki Kuroda         Wednesday, June 25th: 7:07 pm EST          Drew Hutchison

 

Who’s Hot?: Melky Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion have been on a roll the last six games. The Melk man is hitting over .400 with a long ball to go with three doubles and three RBI. Jose Bautista‘s right hand man has found his power stroke over the same span, knocking four out of the park and driving in nine along with an average north of .300.

Brett Gardner has remained locked in as he continues to put together a career year. He has hit .364 with a dinger and a couple of two baggers. Brian Roberts is having a nice stretch of his own going five-for-eighteen, translating to a .313 average. Although Roberts has been a disappointment, not that much was expected anyway, he has had a few good streaks and he’s having one of them now.

Who’s Not?: For Jose Bautista and Jose Reyes, it has been a very different story over the last week. How cold? Reyes is hitting just .083 with one home run and a run batted in, while Bautista, who is battling tightness, hasn’t done much better. The slugger is hitting under .200 with no homers and just two RBI.                                                

                                                       *What To Watch For*

Chase Whitley has been a blessing for the Yankees. He’s been almost as automatic as Tanaka and he hopes to continue that trend against the Jays. Whitley’s only start against Toronto came last Wednesday when he pitched five innings, surrendering two runs on five hits. David Phelps also pitched very well in his last start which also was against the blue birds in the Bronx and he will face them again on Tuesday. In that last start, he gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings. The 27-year-old also owns both Bautista and Encarnacion, as the duo has combined to go just 3-for-20 (.150) against the right-hander.

Hiroki Kuroda will pitch the finale on Wednesday. The veteran should be pumped, because he dominates many of their big bats such as Bautista, Encarnacion, Adam Lind, Brett Lawrie, and Colby Rasmus. Those five have gone 17-for-99 which translates to .171. Lawrie is DL-bound, and Bautista is day-to-day but both were included to make a point on how Kuroda has tamed their stars. The veteran pitcher has been much better of late, and will try to nail down the final game of the series.

 

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