Aug 27, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays pinch hitter Danny Valencia (15) congratulated by Edwin Encarnacion (10) after hitting a three run home run against Boston Red Sox in the seventh inning at Rogers Centre. (Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports)

YGY Series Preview Show Rewind: Yankees-Blue Jays (8/29-8/31)

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On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, brought to you by Knoda.com,  I started off the show by talking about the New York Yankees (69-63) losing two out of three to the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. On the show Sunday night, I talked about how the Yankees needed to make another statement and head into September on a good note. Even though losing two of three to Detroit isn’t necessarily the end for the Bronx Bombers’ season, it still puts them three games behind Detroit and the Seattle Mariners for the Wild Card as well as seven games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East race.

That being said, there were some positives to this series. On Tuesday night, Jacoby Ellsbury had two home runs off of Rick Porcello, the only two runs scored in the game. In the three-game series with the Tigers, the Yankees’ center fielder went 6-for-12 with two home runs and four RBI. Ellsbury was also a part of the Yankees’ explosive third inning against David Price on Wednesday when the team rattled off nine straight hits and would ultimately score eight runs in the inning. With the Detroit series now in the rearview mirror, the team gets set to finish its seven-game road trip against the Toronto Blue Jays (67-66). While Toronto has won the last two series against New York, John Gibbons‘ team has been playing some of their worst baseball of the season in the month of August.

Since August 1, the Blue Jays are 7-16 in their last 23 games. The team has also lost four of their last five games in extra-inning fashion. The Blue Jays were one of the surprise stories in the first half, but after not making a major move at the trade deadline, the Blue Jays have struggled to stay afloat in the AL East and Wild Card races. One of the main reasons for that is their pitching as a whole. The team’s 4.67 ERA in the month of August is ranked 27th in all of baseball. While there are signs of an emergent front-line starter in 23-year-old Marcus Stroman, he has had a 6.39 ERA this month. Plus, Friday’s starter, Mark Buehrle, has won just one game since he was 10-1 on June 1 and is 1-12 lifetime against New York.

As for the offense, it has not performed much better. This month, the team is hitting .239 (24th in MLB) and has scored just 77 runs, which is the worst in all of baseball. Out of those 77 runs driven in, 16 have come from Jose Bautista. The Toronto right fielder is hitting .283 with 26 home runs and 79 RBI this season and has a home run in each of his last two games (three homers in the last seven). The other big bat in the Blue Jays’ lineup is third baseman Edwin Encarnacion, Since his return to the lineup on August 15, the third baseman is hitting .167 with one home run and six RBI.

For this episode, I spoke with Kyle Franzoni, the senior editor at Jays Journal, about Toronto’s recent struggles and whether general manager Alex Anthopoulos should be on the hot seat after not making any major moves before the July 31 deadline. Here are some of the other topics that were discussed by Kyle and I during the episode:

  • My thoughts on the signing of Chris Young and the trade for Josh Outman
  • Kyle’s thoughts on the reason behind Toronto losing 16 of its last 23 games
  • The Blue Jays playing some of their worst baseball since the two extra-inning wins against Detroit
  • Confidence level for Toronto in this series: Is it positive knowing they have beaten the Yankees in the last two series?
  • Pitching Matchup Breakdown
  • Mark Buehrle giving up just three earned runs in each of his last two games, but hasn’t thrown 100 pitches since July 30
  • Chris Capuano (Friday’s Yankees’ Starter) will look to bounce back after walking four against Toronto on July 26
  • Drew Hutchison (Saturday’s Jays’ starter) with awful numbers vs. Yankees, but beat them on July 26.
  • Michael Pineda‘s velocity on his fastball and pounding the strike zone (Saturday’s Yankees’ starter)
  • J.A. Happ (Sunday’s Jays’ starter) has been one of their more consistent starters in the second half
  • Brandon McCarthy (Sunday’s Yankees’ starter) looking to rebound from a lack of control on Tuesday vs. Detroit
  • My bold prediction for this series!
  • Blue Jays’ Players To Watch (Kyle: Edwin Encarnacion, Ricky: Melky Cabrera)
  • Yankees’ Players To Watch: Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann
  • Derek Jeter‘s final series in Toronto
  • Who to watch on the Blue Jays’ roster once the roster expands to 40 on September 1st
  • Why the next 15 games could define the Blue Jays’ season (6 vs. Tampa, 3 with New York, 3 vs. Boston, 3 vs. the Cubs)

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE YANKEES-BLUE JAYS SERIES PREVIEW SHOW!!!

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