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New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays: Series Preview

Can the Yankees pick up some wins in their first trip to Toronto of the season?

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Adam Hunger/Getty Images

After good comeback wins over the Rays on Friday and Saturday, the Yankees’ chances at a third straight fell just feet short. A potential game-tying run home from Aaron Judge died on the warning track, dooming the Yankees to a loss and a series split against Tampa. Despite that, it wasn’t a terrible weekend for the Yankees, especially on the offensive side of things. It was, however, a much better one for the Blue Jays, who swept the Braves out of the Rogers Centre even though Atlanta entered with a sterling 25-12 record.

A couple weeks ago, the Blue Jays came into Yankee Stadium and took two out of three over the Yankees. While Judge had not yet hit the injured list, that series was among the worst of the Yankees’ offense struggles right around that time. Toronto pitching held them to just five runs in three games, and even in the lone win, they needed a good game from Gerrit Cole and the bullpen just to get a three-run, 10-inning, walk-off victory.

Before this week’s action gets underway, let’s check out the expected pitching matchups for the upcoming games north of the border.

Monday: TBD Jimmy Cordero vs. Alek Manoah (7:07 pm ET)

Curiously, the Yankees have not officially announced anything for Monday at time of writing, despite it being Jhony Brito’s normal spot in the pitching order. Considering the overworked nature of the bullpen of late, it’s hard to imagine that they would do something other than just giving the start to Brito for his normal turn (5.81 ERA/5.91 FIP and all), but I guess we’ll see. If it is him, this will be Brito’s first career start against the Blue Jays.

[Monday morning update: The Yankees will use reliever Jimmy Cordero as an opener for this start with Brito likely following him as the “bulk” option in an effort to get a quality bullpen arm to face the top of the Toronto lineup at the start of the game rather than Brito.]

The Yankees will have to deal with Manoah, who has had their number throughout his young MLB career. In what’s been a fairly mediocre start to the 2023 season, Manoah had his brightest spot of it so far in the Bronx. He shut the Yankees out over seven innings at Yankee Stadium back on April 22nd, allowing just two hits and a walk. Take out that start, and his 4.83 ERA would be 5.82.

Tuesday: Domingo Germán vs. Kevin Gausman (7:07 pm ET)

Germán hasn’t allowed more than two runs in any of his outings so far this May, including two solid outings against the division-leading Rays. However prior to that, he had a couple of less-than-stellar starts, including one against Toronto. Back on April 21st, he allowed four runs in six innings, including two home runs, against the Jays.

Gausman is another Toronto pitcher who had a really good start against the Yankees. He struck out 11 batters in seven scoreless frames on April 23rd, which was right around the nadir of their struggles at the plate. Gausman was smoked on April 17th in Houston and May 4th in Boston but has been quite good otherwise.

Wednesday: Gerrit Cole vs. Chris Bassitt* (7:07 pm ET)

Against the Rays so far this season, Cole now has a 6.30 ERA. Against everyone else he’s faced, that figure is just 1.35. Some of that split is probably the Rays putting together some solid games against him, but some of it is probably a bit of regression from an April that netted him AL Pitcher of the Month honors. His start against the Jays earlier this year definitely goes in the good pile, so we’ll see if he can keep that trend going in this game.

Bassitt has been especially good for Toronto of late, allowing just six runs in 33.2 innings across his last five starts and blanking a powerful Braves lineup last Friday in his second career shutout. Bassitt missed the Yankees in these two teams’ last matchup and hasn’t faced them at all since June 19, 2021. That day, he held them to two runs in six innings while he was a member of the Athletics.

Thursday: Nestor Cortes vs. José Berríos* (7:07 pm ET)

After another less than stellar start, it is somewhat fair to put Cortes in the “worried about” pile for the Yankees. The Rays got him for six innings in 4.1 innings over the weekend, taking his season ERA to over 5.53. He has yet to face Toronto this season, but that is a very tough offense to have to face when you’re trying to get back on track.

While he’s been a little better than his down 2022, Berríos hasn’t exactly been lights out so far in 2023. His FIP suggests he’s maybe been a little better than his 4.70 ERA, and he’s been better of late. Over his last six starts, he’s given up 12 earned runs in 36.1 innings, and five of them came in one game against the Red Sox.

*Note: As of Sunday night, Toronto had listed Bassitt and Berríos as their starters for Wednesday and Thursday but on Monday morning, that was changed to “TBD.” For now, we will leave the preview with those two pitchers in those spots.