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New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Series Preview

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The unofficial second half starts tonight!

Tampa Bay Rays v New York Yankees Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The All-Star break is over, and the Yankees unofficially start the second half of their season with a 10-game homestand. First up, they’ll face the Blue Jays for three games. The Bombers have only played Toronto twice this year, but they have a 4-2 record against them so far, including a series sweep in the Bronx a couple weeks ago. Can they pull off another one? Here are the pitching matchups:

Game One: Domingo German vs. Aaron Sanchez

It sure is nice to have Domingi German back in the rotation. Through May 21, the right-hander owned a 2.60 ERA (3.24 FIP) through 55.1 innings. He threw a couple of clunkers before he went on the injured list, but there is every reason to believe that his hip injury contributed to the decline in performance. Especially since he held the Mets to one run off five hits during his first outing back.

German will square off against Aaron Sanchez. The fellow right-hander has been awful this season, to the tune of a 73 ERA+. Nothing has really gone his way—he’s giving up a ton of hits, issuing 5.48 walks per nine innings, and has seen his HR/FB rate jump to 17.1% from 10.8% last year. When the Bombers faced Sanchez a couple of weeks ago, they scored seven earned runs. More of that today, please.

Game Two: J.A. Happ vs. Clayton Richard

J.A. Happ hasn’t been quite as good as Yankees fans had hoped this year. We all know the ball is different at this point, but the southpaw’s 2.01 HR/9 is the second-worst in all of baseball among qualified pitchers. This was on full display at the end of June when he served up three home runs and eight earned runs to the Astros. The good news is that he bounced back from that outing with a one-run start against the Rays. He also put together one of his best starts of the year against his former team in early June.

Clayton Richard will start the second game for Toronto. The veteran has actually been worse than Sanchez, though over a smaller sample. The left-hander has posted a 6.23 ERA (6.39 FIP) through nine starts this season. This will be his third time facing the Yankees, and he surrendered four home runs during the first two meetings. That should bode well for the Bombers.

Game Three: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Marcus Stroman

Fresh off a nice All-Star outing, Tanaka will make the final start in this series. He has been up and down this season, but his stats took a nose dive after that weird six-run first inning against the Red Sox in London. Tanaka has only faced the Jays once this year, when he gave up four runs across six innings.

Finally, the Yankees will get a look at a potential trade target in Marcus Stroman. The right-hander is putting together a good year (141 ERA+), and was even selected to the All-Star team. This will be his first time facing the Bombers this year.