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Yankees vs. Blue Jays series preview: For all the marbles

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The term "must-win game" is vastly overused in baseball. Games are not must win until elimination hangs in the balance. There are games that probably should be won, need to be won for the sake of good feelings, and games that feel very important, but "must-win" is an exaggeration because the season will go on even if they aren't won. New York's three-game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto is not a must-win series because the Yankees are nearly guaranteed a spot in the playoffs. It is all but certainty at this point. However, there is certainly a must-win feel to the series because it feels like the team's last chance to really make a run at the AL East instead of the Wild Card.

After taking two straight games from the Mets while the Blue Jays were dropping consecutive games to the Red Sox the Yankees sit 2.5 games back in the division. Sweep the Blue Jays and they'll find themselves on top. Win the series and they'll find themselves in a virtual tie for first place with a race to the finish ahead. Lose the series, though, and dreams of avoiding the one-game playoff of the Wild Card seem pretty bleak. A lot is riding on this series in that respect.

Adam Warren, Luis Severino, and Ivan Nova will be the pitchers tasked with holding the dangerous Blue Jays offense in check. Toronto is currently without Troy Tulowitzki, and haven't played quite as well since he went down after cracking his shoulder blade in a game against the Yankees in New York. The trio of Yankees will go up against David Price, Marco Estrada, and Marcus Stroman for the opposition. The Yankee offense certainly showed signs of life in their 11-run outburst in Queens on Sunday, hopefully signaling that run scoring won't be the issue it has been at times over the last couple weeks. Jacoby Ellsbury snapped out of his funk a bit and the team will have Alex Rodriguez back in the lineup after forcing him to sit while in a National League park. Each time Rodriguez has sat for a few days for interleague play he has come back on a bit of a tear. Hopefully that is true this time around as well.

Each of the games has a 7:07 pm start time. Aside from on YES as usual, the games will be aired on MLB Network tonight and ESPN on Tuesday and Wednesday.


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