The Yankees got a big win Sunday at Tropicana Field, and will now travel over to Dunedin to try and start a hot streak against the Blue Jays.
The sky isn’t falling! After dropping three in a row, the Yankees were staring a three-game sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays in the face, down 4-3 in the top of the eighth inning. However, behind a big hit from Gleyber Torres, a strong performance from Gio Urshela, and Rougned Odor’s first Yankee hit, the Bombers came away salvaging the final game of the series in Tampa with a huge 8-4 victory. Now, the Yanks continue their road-trip, keyword “road,” with a three-game set coming down the pipe in Dunedin, Florida against the Toronto Blue Jays beginning on Monday.
Yankees Pitching Matchups
It looks like the Yanks will have their best taking the mound against Toronto, at least in the first two games. In the opener of the series, Ace Gerrit Cole will face Robbie Ray, who is making his season debut. Cole is off to an electric start in 2021, As he’s struck out 21 in 12.1 innings, allowing only nine hits, two walks, and two runs, equating to a 1.46 ERA. This will be Cole’s third start of the season, where he’ll look to build off his last start which took place at Yankee Stadium against the Baltimore Orioles. It’s safe to say that Cole brought his A-Game that day, pitching seven dominant four-hit, shutout innings with 13 strikeouts and no walks. Obviously, the Blue Jays’ lineup carries more potency than that of the Orioles, but knowing Cole, he should be able to turn in a good outing.
On Tuesday, the Yanks will trot out Jameson Taillon, who will be making his second start of the young season. Taillon made his season debut on Wednesday against Baltimore and looked strong, for the most part. The righty went 4.2 innings allowing only three hits, two runs, and striking out seven birds. His only blip was a pair of solo shots surrendered to Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander in the fourth inning. Opposing Taillon will be Blue Jays’ Ace Hyun Jin Ryu. Ryu faced the Yankees on Opening Day and pitched 5.1 innings of two-run ball, striking out five on four hits and a walk. The big blow came off the bat of Gary Sanchez — a two-run bomb in the second inning.
Finally, the Yankees will close out their series against the Blue Jays Wednesday afternoon when Corey Kluber takes the ball for the third time this season. Kluber struggled in his last start against the Rays, going 2.1 innings and allowing five runs, three of which were earned. He also walked two and gave up five hits. This will be the second time this season Kluber has faced the Blue Jays, as he made his season debut against Toronto on April 3. In that game, Kluber went 4.0+ innings, allowing only one earned run. However, he wasn’t particularly sharp, either, allowing five hits and three walks with five strikeouts. Hopefully, Kluber can work efficiently enough on Wednesday and get his first strong start in a Yankees uniform. For the Blue Jays, Ross Stripling will be on the hill. Stripling started April 3 against Kluber, and although only allowing three runs, the rest of the numbers weren’t very pretty. Stripling went just 3.1 innings and allowed seven hits and walked two. He did strike out five, however.
One positive about the pitching is the bullpen, which showed dominance again on Sunday, pitching five scoreless to help secure the win. Behind Darren O’Day, Jonathan Loaisiga, Chad Green, Luis Cessa, and Justin Wilson, the ‘pen seems to be a strong suit yet again for the Bombers.
Will the Offense get Going?
It seems like the Yankees, through their first nine games of the season, have had issues with situational hitting. The Bombers had bases loaded, no one out in the third inning during Sunday’s win, and only managed to bring home one run. in the seventh inning, the Yanks once again had the sacks full, this time with one out, and came up empty-handed. Finally, New York had second and third with just one down in the top of the ninth in a tie ballgame, and once again fell flat. Thankfully, the 10th inning was a different story, as the Bombers got three straight big hits with runners in scoring position (one of which by newest Yankee Rougned Odor) that resulted in four runs. Perhaps this is the spark the Yankees needed in order to officially wake the offense up.