The New York Yankees are back in the postseason and will complete the road portion of their schedule when they finish a three-game series at the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday. A 5-1 win Saturday afternoon propelled the Yankees to the playoffs for the 19th time in 23 years, although they will need a near-miraculous comeback to avoid having to participate in the winner-take-all wild-card game.
New York, which has won 15 of its last 20, enters Sunday’s action trailing first-place Boston by four games in the American League East with eight to play. Greg Bird’s three-run homer was the big blow for the Yankees on Saturday and he has gone deep three times while driving in eight runs over his last seven games. New York will be trying to win its season-high seventh straight series and can even the season series at eight wins apiece with a victory in the finale. The Blue Jays will be playing their final game of the year at home before completing the regular season with three at Boston and three in Yankee Stadium.
TV: 1:07 p.m. ET, YES (New York), Sportsnet (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees LH Jaime Garcia (5-9, 4.19 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (12-8, 3.01)
Garcia is winless in seven starts since joining the Yankees despite posting a 3.86 ERA. He has failed to complete six innings in any of those outings but has yielded just two earned runs in 15 1/3 innings over his last three appearances. The 31-year-old gave up four runs over 5 1/3 frames in a visit to Toronto on May 16 while a member of the Atlanta Braves, and he is 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA in four career meetings.
Stroman won’t be included in many Cy Young Award discussions but he ranks third behind favorites Corey Kluber and Chris Sale in the AL ERA race after limiting Kansas City to a run across seven innings his last time out. The Duke product owns a 2.52 ERA in 17 home starts and a 2.97 mark in 11 career appearances versus New York. Stroman has had some issues with Brett Gardner (9-for-30, two home runs), Aaron Judge (4-for-8, one home run) and Matt Holliday (3-for-6, one home run).
1. Three Yankees relievers combined to pitch three scoreless innings Saturday, extending the bullpen’s scoreless streak to 21 2/3 innings.
2. Blue Jays OF Teoscar Hernandez has homered in each of the first two games of the series.
3. New York 3B Todd Frazier has drawn 11 walks in his last 10 contests.
PREDICTION: Blue Jays 5, Yankees 4