Here it is, huh? The Yankees' second AL East clash of the season, and their first at home. It's also their first look at the new-look Blue Jays, who willingly sacrificed offense and depth by trading both Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Toescar Hernández, as well as top prospect Gabriel Moreno behind the plate, in order to focus fully on defense and their upgraded pitching staff.
What has it gotten them? Well, they're 11-8, so they're winning. However ... they enter the weekend with a -12 run differential, the 10th-worst in MLB. They're winning lucky. Alejandro Kirk, who they chose behind the plate, has a .688 OPS; Moreno, the top prospect they traded away, has displayed impressive defense and the bat is heating up (though, yes, his OPS is .630). Daulton Varsho, the center piece of their offseason maneuvering, is hitting .234 with a .677 OPS after starting the season red hot.
His advanced metrics have always been sketchy, but word was he would be fine if he just pulled the ball like he always has, especially since the Blue Jays pulled the right field fences in for him this offseason (cool move). He's ... stopped pulling the ball. He's also in the blues in Statcast's limited defensive metrics after posting an historically good defensive year last year. He'll almost definitely turn it around this series, but, uh ... yeah. It would be inappropriate to take a victory lap in either direction right now.
Yankees Starting Lineup for Friday, April 21 vs Blue Jays
Almost the same group that finally conquered a lefty yesterday, except with Higgy catching and DJ LeMahieu taking the DH role from Gleyber Torres/sending Oswald Peraza to third.
Yankees Pitching Probables for Friday, April 21 vs Blue Jays
The Yankees face another left-hander in Yusei Kikuchi on Friday night; he broke out this spring, but has a 4.70 ERA through three starts.
Unfortunately for the Yanks, they won't be countering him with one of their two crown jewels; Gerrit Cole pitches Saturday. It'll instead be Domingo Germán, looking to follow up his stunning outing against the Twins with a second straight impressive outing. But take it from Max Scherzer: Leave the rosin at home this time.
Expect fireworks from Manoah and Cole on Saturday, but hopefully the Yankees will learn their lesson from Thursday's game, their first impressive offensive performance against a left-hander all year.