Yankees: Sunday recap and previewing Luis Severino’s season debut on Tuesday

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Luis Severino #40 of the New York Yankees looks on against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium on October 03, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 03: Luis Severino #40 of the New York Yankees looks on against the Oakland Athletics during the first inning in the American League Wild Card Game at Yankee Stadium on October 03, 2018 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /
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The Yankees were defeated by the Blue Jays, 6-4, on Sunday in the rubber game of their three-game set. It was the clubs’ final meeting in Toronto this season, with the Blue Jays taking six of ten at their home park. These division rivals will meet for one more series—a three-game set at Yankee Stadium this coming weekend.

The Yankees took an early 1-0 lead in the first thanks to an Aaron Judge opposite-field shot. It was Judge’s 23rd blast of the season and tenth in his last 21 games, dating back to August 23. Only Eugenio Suarez (13) has more home runs than Judge across the majors during that span.

Toronto took a 2-1 lead in the second. Former Yankee Billy McKinney tied the game with an RBI single. Richard Urena’s RBI double gave Toronto the edge. Both runs came against lefty Jordan Montgomery, who made his season debut out of the bullpen after missing more than a year following Tommy John surgery. New York retook the lead in the third, highlighted by an RBI double from DJ LeMahieu. It was LeMahieu’s team-leading 93rd RBI of the season.

However, Toronto took the lead for good in the fifth. Randal Grichuk hit his 28th home run of the season—a three-run shot off Nestor Cortes Jr. It was Grichuk’s second blast of the game and eighth homer against the Yankees this season. Only one Blue Jay—Jose Cruz (nine in 2001) has finished a year with more homers against the Yankees.

There was one positive highlight for New York. Dellin Betances—who Yankee fans last saw in Game Four of the 2018 ALDS—returned from the IL. He’s been out the entire year due to a right shoulder impingement. Betances faced two batters—Resse McGwire and Brandon Drury—and struck them both out. His fastball was clocked at a high of 94.9 miles-an-hour. That’s down nearly three miles-an-hour (97.7) compared to last season, but the results were impressive nonetheless.

With the loss, the Yanks fell to 98-53 and are now tied with the Astros for the best record in the majors. However, Houston holds the lead in the race for home-field advantage in the postseason since they won the season series against the Yanks (four games-to-three).

The Bronx Bombers still hold a nine-game lead over the Rays for first in the AL East. Tampa Bay also lost on Sunday, meaning New York’s magic number to clinch the division is at three. Both the Yankees and Rays are off Monday, meaning the earliest New York can clinch the AL East would be Wednesday.

The Yankees will begin a three-game series against the Angels on Tuesday. Luis Severino will finally make his season debut. He’s been all season out due to a rotator cuff injury, as well as a grade two lat strain. The former All-Star last pitched on Wednesday for Double-A Trenton. He allowed one earned run in 3.2 IP on 64 pitches. Don’t expect the Yankees to let Severino go much past 70-75 pitches.

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Sevy has never recorded a win against Los Angeles, going 0-1, with a 4.26 ERA in three career starts. However, he will face a depleted Angels’ lineup that’s without Mike Trout, Shohei Ohtani and Justin Upton. All three are out for the rest of the season. Trout—the two-time AL MVP and likely front-runner for 2019—is expected to undergo surgery this week to deal with a foot injury.

Here are some things to be aware of as the Yankees enter this series.

Rookie Jose Suarez is scheduled to pitch against the Yankees on Tuesday. He’s 0-5, with a 7.77 ERA in his last eleven appearances (nine starts). The Yankees took three of four against the Angels at Angels Stadium back in late-April.

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Brett Gardner is batting .333 with four home runs and eight RBI in his last five games. An elder statesman of the game, Gardy has 25 home runs and ten stolen bases in 130 contests this season. He’s just the third Yankee in his age-35 season or older with at least 25 homers and ten steals—joining Babe Ruth (1930) and Gary Sheffield (2005).