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New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Series Preview

Two teams that have struggled of late are set to face off in the Bronx.

Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images

For as bad as the Yankees have been playing lately, they haven’t really seen a big chunk of their AL East lead disappear. That’s in large part because, while Tampa Bay has caught up, the Blue Jays had been in second place behind them, and Toronto has been struggling quite a bit as well.

Since the start of August, the Blue Jays have gone just 5-9, failing to take advantage of the Yankees’ struggles and falling back to the pack themselves. As Erin detailed yesterday, the Yankees have really benefitted from the Blue Jays’ woes. Now, the two teams are set to meet in a series that will be crucial for both as they try to get back on track.

Thursday: Frankie Montas vs. José Berríos (7:05 PM ET)

Montas was much better in his second game as a Yankee than he was in his debut, but he still ended up only going five innings as some wildness that led to walks and wild pitches drove up his pitch count. This will be his first start against the Blue Jays this season as he wasn’t lined up for either series against Toronto when he was still with Oakland.

In July, it seemed that Berríos might be on the verge of turning his season around, but thus far in August, he’s really struggled. His most recent start saw him give up eight runs in four innings against the Guardians. The Yankees have gotten two looks at him so far this year, putting up eight runs in 10.1 innings.

Friday: Jameson Taillon vs. Kevin Gausman (7:05 PM ET)

His struggles since June are well-noted, but Taillon is coming off two consecutive starts that were very solid. Taillon’s also been pretty good against the Blue Jays so far this year. He has a 2.05 ERA in 22 innings, striking out 22 batters across four starts so far.

Gausman had been on a great start to August when he threw 14 scoreless innings in his first start of the month. However, he followed that up with a five-run, nine-hit, 4.2-inning outing against Cleveland last Sunday. His season has been a bit of an odd one in general, as his ERA is over a full run higher than his FIP. Those numbers include just one game against the Yankees so far this year, an April start where he was solid, but outpitched by Luis Severino and the Yankee bullpen.

Saturday: Gerrit Cole vs. Mitch White (1:05 PM ET)

You couldn’t have asked for much more from Cole as he attempted to bounce back from the disastrous August 3rd start against the Mariners. In 13 innings across two outings, Cole has allowed just one run, while striking out 14. Unfortunately for him, and the team in general, the Yankees’ offense was shutout in both games, wasting a pair of excellent starts from their ace.

Trade deadline acquisition White is set to get the start for Toronto on Saturday, in what will be his first ever appearance against the Yankees. A former top-100 Dodgers’ prospect, White has been pretty solid this season, including a 3.86 ERA (106 ERA+) since the deal that brought him over to the Blue Jays.

Sunday: Nestor Cortes vs. TBD (1:35 PM ET)

A bad first inning combined with another bad performance from the offense doomed Cortes to a loss in his previous start, but he ended up rebounding to have a pretty strong performance. He’s also been solid in his two starts against Toronto, both of which came very early in the season. Cortes has allowed two runs in a combined 8.1 innings in the games he’s had against the Jays this season.

At time of writing, it seems that Toronto has not confirmed who will be starting on Sunday, but Alek Manoah would be on normal rest, so he seems a fairly obvious choice.