It’s a hugely important series in the National League Wild-Card race starting Monday as the St. Louis Cardinals visit the New York Mets. Both are chasing the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds for the final playoff spot in the Senior Circuit. These next weeks are the most important.
New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays
- When: Tuesday, September 28 // Thursday, September 30
- Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
- TV: WPIX, ESPN, YES
- Radio: WFAN 101.9 FM (Yankees) // Sportsnet The FAN 590 AM (Blue Jays)
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
- MLB Betting Odds: TBA (Sept. 28) // Mets -179 (Sept. 29) // TBA (Sept. 30)
Monday, September 28th
New York swept the Red Sox in Boston over the weekend to take the top AL wild-card spot. The Yankees (89-67) lead the Red Sox (88-68) by one game with six games remaining. The Blue Jays (87-69) sit two games back of New York. The Yanks, though, are just 6-10 this year against the Blue Jays. If the Yankees win just one game in this series, they’ll leave Toronto no worse than the No. 2 wild card.
New York starting pitchers own a 3.52 ERA in their last 74 starts. They have allowed three earned runs or fewer in 61 of those 74 and two earned runs or fewer in 49 of them. Overall, New York starters have a 3.84 ERA this season. They have finished a season with as low of an ERA just once in the last 40 seasons since 1982 (3.77 ERA in 2014).
The Yankees could bring back one of their biggest bullpen weapons as well as right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga (shoulder strain) should be back Tuesday against the Blue Jays, manager Aaron Boone said. He has been out since Sept. 3. Losing Loaisiga has been tough for the Yankees, who had come to rely on him as one of their most dangerous late-inning threats. In 54 appearances, Loaisiga had a 2.25 ERA. He struck out 66 batters over 68 innings.
Toronto could get a small advantage in facing the Orioles in the final weekend while the Yankees play the Rays (who could still be battling for the AL’s best record); the Blue Jays are 11-5 against Baltimore and outscored the O’s, 44-19, in their most recent three-game set. The Jays have hit an MLB-best 248 homers this year. That’s a franchise record.
Tuesday, September 29th
The scheduled pitching matchup Tuesday is Jameson Taillon for New York and Hyun-Jin Ryu for the Jays. Taillon (8-6, 4.41) will make his 28th start of the season. He has been on the 10-day injured list since Sept. 7 with a right ankle tendon injury. He last pitched on Sept. 6. Vs. Toronto, allowing three earned over seven. It marked his second straight loss after going undefeated in a career-high 15 straight starts from 6/5-8/26. Taillon made a Minor League rehab start for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Sept. 22, permitting two runs and four hits over three innings (51 pitches).
Ryu (13-9, 4.34) also will be activated from the injured list. He was dealing with a neck strain. He last faced the Yankees on Sept. 6 and shut them out over six innings of a victory in the Bronx. After a solid first half, the 34-year-old has posted a 5.61 ERA in the back half of the year. Over his last five starts, he’s allowed 22 runs in 19 2/3 innings, good for a 10.07 ERA, even with that strong start vs. the Yankees.
Wednesday, September 30th
Wednesday, it’s Gerrit Cole for New York and Jose Berrios for Toronto. Cole (16-8, 3.08) surrendered three runs in six innings Friday in a victory over the Red Sox. Cole was pitching a shutout until Rafael Devers hit a three-run homer in the sixth. He’s in the Cy Young conversation. Berrios (12-9, 3.48) struck out 10 batters while allowing three runs over six innings in Friday’s loss to the Twins.
Thursday, it’s New York’s Corey Kluber against Jays lefty and potential AL Cy Young winner Robbie Ray. Kluber (5-3, 3.82) was lifted after allowing three runs and eight hits in 4 1/3 innings versus the Rangers last Wednesday. He has a 5.72 ERA in five starts since coming off the IL late last month. Ray (13-6, 2.68) picked up his 13th victory of the season on Saturday, limiting the Twins to one run on three hits over six strong innings.
MLB Betting Pick: Yankees