As time ticks away on the 2017 regular season, the Yankees make their final road trip of the year to Rogers Centre in Toronto. New York is still running down the Red Sox in hopes of not merely settling for the first Wild Card, but they will need some help in order to get there.
Here is how the pitching matchups shake out for the weekend.
Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Marco Estrada
Tanaka was very good his last time out, pitching seven innings of two-run ball against Baltimore. It was a nice bounce back from his ugly start against the Rangers down in Arlington. Strangely enough, Tanaka has really struggled away from Yankee Stadium this year. Hopefully that won’t be the case when he takes on the Blue Jays Friday night.
Estrada is coming off consecutive wins in his last two starts, defeating the Twins and Orioles his last two times out. The Yankees have had his number with Estrada posting a 5.64 ERA against them. Estrada has held opponents to fewer than five hits in his last three starts.
Game 2: Sonny Gray vs. Joe Biagini
Gray had a really tough start against the Orioles on September 17th in which he surrendered five runs in just four innings. Gray was a tough-luck loser in the start before that against the Rays in which he gave up just two runs over eight innings but still took the loss. His teammates have done a very poor job of scoring for Gray since coming over from Oakland, which has led to less success than he should be having. Hopefully that begins to change soon.
Biagini’s last five starts have flipped back and forth between very good and very bad. His last start was a four-run, 1.1-inning outing against the same Twins that the Yankees dismantled in their last series. The trend sets Biagini up for a good start against the Yankees, but the Yankee offense is definitely capable of putting up an ugly number against a struggling starter.
Game 3: Jordan Montgomery vs. Marcus Stroman
Montgomery had his best start in quite some time against the Orioles in his last outing. The Yankee rookie went six scoreless innings against Baltimore, allowing just four hits. Joe Girardi has had Montgomery on a short leash down the stretch, but that leash wasn’t needed against the O’s. If Montgomery can have another outing like that against the Blue Jays in order to preserve some bullpen bullets I’m sure Girardi will take it.
Stroman has had quite a good year for Toronto, coming into the series against the Yankees with an ERA barely above 3.00 (3.01). His less-than-stellar record is the exact reason why putting stock in a pitcher’s W-L record is futile. His last start, a seven-inning, one-run performance against the Royals, ended up being his first win since August 16th. The Yankees will definitely be a tough test for him, but he will also be capable of shutting down the recent offensive breakout if he is on.