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How the loss of Nathan Eovaldi will affect the Yankees game plan against the Blue Jays

A look at how the loss of Nathan Eovaldi affects the Yankees game plan against the Toronto Blue Jays

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays might be the best team in 2015 just based on their offensive production alone. While their pitching isn't exactly otherworldly, their offense has carried them to a league-leading 117 wRC+ and 27.8 fWAR. All year, they have been held up by incredible seasons from Josh Donaldson, Jose Bautista, and Edwin Encarnacion, and the addition of Troy Tulowitzki has only made them even tougher to beat. Unfortunately for them, they all happen to have the same weakness:

Can you guess it?

Exactly; they all strike out against the high fastball. Luckily, the Yankees possess a starting pitcher that might be able to oblige them with such an offering:

It's too bad Nathan Eovaldi is now injured and possibly out for the remainder of the regular season. Eovaldi's been the team's most valuable starting pitcher in the second half of the season, putting up 1.4 WAR since the All-Star break. That's a huge loss for a team in a tight pennant race, especially when some of those left standing–specifically Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia–have been truly horrible in the second half. Losing Eovaldi for the upcoming four-game series against Toronto is a big blow, but losing him for the rest of the year would be even worse.

Now it seems that Adam Warren will take Eovaldi's place and the team will finally go with the six-man they wanted a month ago now that CC Sabathia is back. This means that instead of a Eovaldi-Nova-Pineda-Tanaka rotation against the Blue Jays, they will now go Severino-Warren-Nova-Pineda, which is a much weaker group of pitchers, considering Nova has not been good and Warren is not exactly stretched out yet. It would seem that after being (near) perfectly lined up to face their division rivals, the return of Sabathia and the injury to Eovaldi has seriously messed things up for the Yankees.

Thankfully, though, the Blue Jays also seem to have trouble catching up to lively fastballs, so Luis Severino's 95 mph heater with plenty of movement could be a serious weapon against their sluggers. Eovaldi's fastball is mostly straight, so Severino might have more luck when it comes to getting Toronto's hitters to swing through the fast stuff over the plate. The Yankees might also be in good shape due to the fact that Donaldson, Tulo, Bautsita, and Encarnacion all having a tendency to chase sliders and splitters in the dirt–which should make Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda very happy.

As for the bullpen, Dellin Betances should be a huge weapon against Toronto, since he's been known to lure out a few strikeouts against high heat:

Justin Wilson, despite being a lefty, should also get some action against the right-handed Toronto bats because he also offers some letters-high pitches:

The Yankees have been hurt by the loss of Eovaldi, but if everyone steps up just a tad, and the Blue Jays fall victim to their weaknesses, New York could be victorious this weekend and maybe even come away with the division title. Now, if Eovaldi still isn't back for the postseason, then that's a different story entirely.