After a road trip that saw an odd four game set in Boston, and winning two-of-three in Pittsburgh, the Yankees are back in the Bronx to take on the Blue Jays. Toronto was swept in a consequential four game series with the Rangers, but followed it with a sweep of their own against the Red Sox. The Bombers have played well in the month of September, and with a route to the playoffs in need of a miracle, the Yanks will look to play some spoiler against their division rivals.
Let’s take a look at how the starting rotations line up for this final-month matchup:
Tuesday: Clarke Schmidt vs. Yusei Kikuchi (7:05 pm ET)
Schmidt will be making his 30th start of the 2023 season, and will be doing so in the midst of a solid pitching run. The righty has a 3.77 ERA over his last five starts (28.2 IP), while striking out better than a batter per inning. Schmidt has faced the Jays just once this year, in April, where he went 5.2 innings with no earned runs, and struck out eight.
After a disappointing first season up north, Kikuchi has rebounded with a solid 2023 for the Jays. The left-hander has a 3.81 ERA and 4.29 FIP in 153.1 innings this year, and is enjoying what is easily his best season in the big leagues thus far, thanks in part to his tremendously improved walk rate. His last outing was a noisy one, where he gave up six runs in five innings to the Rangers.
Wednesday: Michael King vs. Kevin Gausman (7:05 pm ET)
Michael King has enjoyed another excellent year on the mound, and is continuing to thrive despite being stretched out as a starter. His last five appearances have all been starts, during which he has pitched to the tune of a 1.27 ERA and 1.10 FIP across 21.1 innings. He has not worked more than five innings thus far in this process, but when out there, he has been lights out.
Gausman has remained one of the very best pitchers in baseball, and will likely be a viable competitor in Gerrit Cole’s Cy Young hunt. The right-hander’s 3.04 FIP is good enough for third-best in baseball, and he’s striking out nearly a third of opposing batters. He last faced the Yanks in May, where he gave up two earned runs over seven innings while tallying double-digit K’s.
Thursday: Gerrit Cole vs. José Berrios (7:05 pm ET)
Speaking of that Cy Young race, Cole is slated to start the final game of this AL East matchup. He’ll take his 2.81 ERA into his 32nd start of the year, and is trending upward, as he’s pitched to a 1.71 ERA over his last five starts. Cole shut out the Jays over six innings the last time they faced off, and did the same over 5.2 in their other matchup, as he’ll look to stymie the Toronto bats once again Thursday night.
After an out-of-nowhere dud of a season for Berrios in ‘22, he has returned to the level we’d come to expect. Over 178 innings, the 29-year-old has crafted a 3.49 ERA, opting to use his sinker over the four-seamer much more in 2023. As he enjoys his first full-season success in Toronto, Berrios is coming off seven shutout innings at home against the Red Sox.