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New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays: J.A. Happ vs. Taijuan Walker

It’s Gerrit Cole’s birthday. What better way to celebrate than by winning?

New York Yankees v New York Mets Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Boy, these last four games have felt like a case study in Murphy’s Law on the baseball diamond. The Yankees just keep finding new ways to lose. One day it’s starting pitching while the next it’s the bullpen. Some days the offense goes missing while others the defense is porous. The Yankees just can’t seem to put together a complete team performance. Regardless, it is a new day and hope springs eternal.

Here’s a sentence that wraps up 2020 in a nutshell: J.A. Happ has been the Yankees’ most valuable starter over the last month. That’s good news as the lefty gets the ball tonight looking to staunch the bleeding. Over his last three starts in particular, Happ has been quite effective, pitching to a 2.50 ERA, 3.76 FIP, 0.944 WHIP, and only two home runs allowed in 18.0 innings. This stretch has brought his season numbers to a more palatable 1-1, 4.68 ERA, 5.87 FIP, and 1.28 WHIP in 25.0 innings after an ugly first two starts.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays send out a man with whom many Yankees fans are familiar. Taijuan Walker was acquired on August 27th from the Mariners for a PTBNL. Walker’s name has run through the Yankees rumor mill on more than one occasion, and was linked to the Bombers this year as they contemplated reinforcing their compromised rotation. They decided against it, and such a choice could haunt them in more than one way.

Walker was stellar in his Blue Jays debut, pitching six innings of four-hit shutout ball. On the season, Walker is 3-2 with a 3.26 ERA, 4.62 FIP, and 1.112 WHIP in 38.2 innings. He is already boosting the Blue Jays’ chances of snagging a playoff spot, and a strong outing tonight would certainly be a double whammy for the Yankees.

The Yankees make some minor shakeups to their lineup. Gary Sánchez is back starting at catcher after being given the last two games off. Mike Tauchman replaces Brett Gardner in left while Tyler Wade spells Thairo Estrada at second.

The home team throws out essentially the same lineup that dropped 12 runs on the Bombers last night. The only changes see Joe Panik coming in for Travis Shaw at third, and Cavan Biggio shifting to second, Jonathan Davis playing in right, and Jonathan Villar heading to the bench.

How to watch:

Location: Sahlen Field, Buffalo, NY.

First pitch: 6:37 p.m. EDT

TV broadcast: YES Network

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM

Online Stream: Fox Sports Go

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