Last season, the Yankees had some issues while facing the Blue Jays in Toronto’s temporary home. They went 2-5 in the games played in Buffalo due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, including that infamous 12-7 loss with the 10-run meltdown inning.
Now in 2021, they have another chance in a different Blue Jays temporary home. The three-game set starting tonight will take place in Dunedin, Florida, the site of the Jays’ spring training home. This time around, it’s a place where the Yankees have some recent experience with, playing three spring training games there this year.
As the Yankees look to get back on track after a tough series in Tampa, here are the pitching matchups we’ll see in Dunedin.
Monday: Gerrit Cole vs. Robbie Ray
In his second outing of the season, Cole was excellent against the Orioles. He struck out 13, allowing just four hits and no walks in seven innings in a dominant performance. Now he’ll try to follow that up by bettering his Opening Day performance, which was also against the Blue Jays. On that day, he was good, allowing two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings, but got a no decision.
After missing the start of the season due to a bruised elbow from falling down the stairs, Ray will be making his first start of 2021 against the Yankees in the opener. The Blue Jays brought him back on a one-year deal after acquiring him in a trade last season. He was pretty good in spring training for whatever that’s worth, allowing three unearned runs in 13.2 innings.
Tuesday: Jameson Taillon vs. Hyun Jin Ryu
Taillon’s Yankee debut was promising, as he struck out seven in 4.2 innings, while only allowing three hits (although two were homers). Toronto will provide a much bigger step up in competition than the Orioles were, though. Also, his outing last Wednesday was his first appearance in nearly two years. How he deals with that and maybe some lesser nerves will be interesting to see.
Ryu went on Opening Day against the Yankees, and went toe-to-toe with Cole. He also went 5.1 innings allowing two runs, while restricting the Yankees to just four hits. That and his final start against them in 2019 were both good, but this version of the Yankees has had some success against him over the years. In a notable 2019 game, the Yankees got him for seven runs in just 4.1 innings, handing him his first home loss of that season.
Wednesday: Corey Kluber vs. Ross Stripling
The other offseason Yankee rotation addition will be making his third start of the season on Wednesday. Although partly let down by the defense, Kluber struggled against the Rays, and was knocked out of the game after just 2.1 innings. His first start was against Toronto, where he was pretty solid.
One of the Yankees’ better offensive performances of this young season came against Ross Stripling. In the second game of the season, they knocked him out after just 3.1 innings, hitting him around all afternoon. Six of the Yankees starters that day recorded at least one hit off him in an eventual 5-3 win. Stripling wasn’t much better in his second start, lasting just five innings against the Angels, having allowed an absolute moonshot to Mike Trout.