Thursday, July 18, 2024
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MLB Preview: Toronto Blue Jays (83-67) at New York Yankees (76-74)

TORONTO BLUE JAYS NOTES:

THE LATEST: The Blue Jays plated the winning run in the bottom of the 9th inning on Sunday to edge the Red Sox, 3-2…Marked their 6th walk-off win and their 2nd in as many days (4-3 win in 13 innings on Saturday), winning via walk-offs in back-to-back games for the first time since July 26-27, 2017 vs. OAK…Improved to 25-19 in one-run contests…Their .568 win% in one-run games is 2nd best in the AL (1st: BAL – .667)…Are now 28-18-2 in series play for the year, have gone an equal 14-9-1 both at home and on the road. Toronto has won 11 of its last 17 games, 16 of its last 27, and is 29-22 across its last 51…Enters today holding the 2nd AL Wild Card spot, one game ahead of both Texas (82-68) and Seattle (82-68).

READ ‘EM AND SWEEP: Sunday’s win completed Toronto’s 9th sweep of the season…Was their 2nd straight sweep vs. the Red Sox…Have had each of their last seven series vs. Boston result in a sweep (TOR – 5, BOS – 2), the 2nd-longest such streak vs. a single opponent in team history (eight series vs. BAL from 2009-2010).

DOING THE EXTRAS WORK: Matt Chapman drove in the game-winning run on Sunday with an RBI triple in the bottom of the 9th inning…Was his 3rd career walk-off hit and his 1st in a Blue Jays uniform…Also doubled in the 2nd inning for a 2-for-4 afternoon…Marked his 27th multi-hit game of the year and his 11th game with multiple extra-base hits, tied for 6th most in the AL. The third baseman now ranks T-3rd in the AL with 37 doubles…Also ranks 2nd in the AL with a 56.8 hard-hit percentage (1st: Aaron Judge – 62.6) and is T-4th in average exit velocity (93.4 MPH).

HITTING IT VAR: Daulton Varsho gave Toronto a 2-0 lead on Sunday with a solo shot to right field…Was his 17th longball of the season and his 1st in September…Went 3-for-8 (.375) on a single, a triple, and a homer during the Boston series. The 27-year-old has also recorded an MLB-high 27 defensive runs saved this season (2nd: Fernando Tatis Jr. – 24)…His 17 DRS in center are tied with Kevin Kiermaier for the most among center fielders while his 10 DRS in left are 3rd most among left fielders.

HYUN JIN DOES THE JOB: Hyun Jin Ryu pitched 4.2 shutout innings on Sunday, scattering six hits and two walks around a pair of strikeouts…Has allowed no earned runs in four of his nine starts this season…Over his last eight outings, has gone 3-2 with a 2.04 ERA (9 ER/39.2 IP) and a 1.01 WHIP while holding hitters to a .201 AVG.

BIGGI-OBP: Cavan Biggio recorded a single in each of the 2nd and 9th innings, going 2-for-4 Sunday while scoring the opening and winning runs of the game…Is now
12-for-36 (.333) with three doubles, a home run, eight RBI, and a 7BB/8K ratio over his last 12 games (.932 OPS)…Held a .265 OBP before the All-Star break, but since then has reached at a .411 clip…The 146-point increase is currently the largest in franchise history (min. 100 PA)…courtesy Stats Perform.

ONE LAST RIDE: The Blue Jays are beginning their final road trip of the regular season…Own a 42-33 road record this season for a .560 win%, 3rd best in the AL 5th in MLB)…Have gone 22-11 over their last 33 road games for a .667 win%, the 3rd-best road record in the Majors since June 20 (BAL – .692, LAD .684). Blue Jays rank 2nd among AL clubs with a .265 road batting average, 2nd in road OBP (.335), 3rd in road OPS (.767), and 4th in road SLG (.432)…The pitching staff ranks 3rd in the AL in road ERA (3.91), 10th in road WHIP (1.28), and 11th in road opponents’ average (.251),

PITCHING IN: Toronto pitchers have combined for a 3.74 ERA this season, 2nd best in the Majors (1st: SEA – 3.72)…The 3.74 ERA is currently 5th best in team history and the club’s best since 2008 (3.49)…Have recorded 1,403strikeouts, trailing only Atlanta (1,422) and Minnesota (1,419) for the most in MLB…Rank 5th in the AL in opponents’ batting average (.239) and 5th in WHIP (1.24)…The rotation has recorded 66 quality starts, 4th most in the AL (T-6th in MLB).

RISP-Y BUSINESS: The Blue Jays have gone 47-for-141 (.333) with runners in scoring position across their last 17 games, including 22 walks, 14 extra-base hits, and 58 RBI (.415 OBP, .876 OPS)…Since the calendar flipped to August, the Blue Jays sport an MLB-best .312 batting average (106-for-340) with RISP (2nd: ATL – .311)…Have raised their season RISP average to .259, 6th best among AL clubs, and one point higher than last season’s mark (.258 in 2022).

DIVISIONAL DETAILS: The Blue Jays are wrapping up the regular season with 15 straight divisional games (3-0 so far)…Have won seven of their last nine games vs. AL East clubs… Have gone 15-25 against divisional opponents this season, the 3rd fewest intra-division wins in MLB (COL – 13; OAK – 13)…The .375 divisional win% is currently 9th lowest in team history.

VS. THE YANKEES: All-Time: 318-388
2023: 3-4 Road: 150-203
Road: 2-1 Yankee Stadium: 50-79

The Blue Jays dropped three of four games in Toronto when they last met the Yankees in May…Are 3-4 vs. the Pinstripes this year, having gone 2-1 in the Bronx…Are 15-8 at Yankee Stadium since the start of the 2021 season for a .652 win%, the best among all AL teams over that span.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is 6-for-19 with two doubles, two homers, and seven RBI in six games vs. New York this season (1.100 OPS)…Is a lifetime .291 (78-for268) hitter against the Pinstripes, with 16 doubles, two triples, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI in 71 meetings (.881 OPS)…Has gone 39-for-132 (.295) with six doubles, 12 homers, and 21 RBI in his 34 games at Yankee Stadium (.968 OPS)…His .614 SLG at the current venue is the highest all-time, just ahead of Aaron Judge’s .603 mark (min. 100 AB).

Bo Bichette has batted .310 (9-for-29) with two doubles, a home run, and three RBI in the seven games vs. NYY this season…Now holds a career average of .315 (75-for-238) across 58 games vs. the Yankees, including 19 doubles, 11 home runs, and 36 RBI (.887 OPS).

Kevin Kiermaier leads all current Blue Jays with 111 career games vs. New York…Has hit .239 (91-for381) with 12 doubles, six triples, 14 homers, and 29 RBI in those contests (.713 OPS).

STARTING PITCHER – Yusei Kikuchi, LHP #16
TODAY’S GAME: Making his 30th start of the season and his 16th on the road…Dropped to 9-6 on the year his last time out, on 9/13 vs.TEX, giving up a season-hightying 6 runs over 5.0 innings (5H, 2BB, 3K)…Matched his career-high with 163 strikeouts on the season (163K in 2021)…Has pitched into the 5th inning in all 29 starts this year, the only Blue Jay starter to do so. His 153.2 innings pitched this season are 8.0 shy of his career-high (161.2IP in 2019).

2023 HIGHLIGHTS: Took a no-decision on 9/8 vs. KC, tossing 5.0 frames of one-run ball with 3 hits, a walk, and 8 strikeouts. Did not allow a home run in a career-high 7 consecutive starts from 7/16- 8/22, the longest stretch by a Blue Jay since Kevin Gausman from 4/9- 5/13/22. Took a no-decision on 8/15 vs. PHI, tossing 6.0 frames of one-run ball (4H, 0BB, 7K)…Allowed one earned run or fewer in 6 straight starts, tied for the longest streak in team history (Dave Stieb: 6G from 9/13/88- 4/10/89; Hyun Jin Ryu: 6G from 8/5-9/2/20). Took the hard-luck loss on 8/8 at CLE, matching a season best with 7.0 innings of one-run ball (3H, BB, 6K). Improved to 9-3 on 8/2 vs. BAL, twirling 6.0 innings of one-run ball (6H, BB, 3K)…Marked his 7th quality start of the season. Faced one batter over the minimum on 6/20 at MIA, tossing 6.0 shutout innings with 2 hits, no walks, and 6 strikeouts on 87 pitches (57 strikes)… Marked his 3rd scoreless start of the season.
Took a no-decision on 6/4 at NYM, giving up 2 runs over 5.0 innings with 4 hits, a walk, and 8 strikeouts…Induced a season-high 19 swing-and-misses. Improved to 6-2 on 5/30 vs. MIL, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits and a season-high 5 walks over 5.0 frames with 4 strikeouts…Punched out Joey Wiemer in the 4th inning for the 500th strikeout of his career…Became the 9th Japanese-born player to record 500 strikeouts and 500.0 innings pitched in the Majors.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS:
Made his MLB debut on 3/21/19 for Seattle against Oakland at the Tokyo Dome in Japan…Became the 1st Japanese-born player to make his Major League debut in Japan, picking up a no-decision (4.2 IP, 4H, ER, BB, 3K). Recorded his 1st career complete game shutout on 8/18/19 at TOR, pitching 9.0 scoreless innings and allowing only two hits and a walk with eight strikeouts…Became just the 13th pitcher (17th time) in club history to throw a complete game shutout within his first 30 career appearances (previous: Mike Montgomery on 6/30/15 at SD). Named to the American League All-Star Team for the 1st time on 7/4/21… Was on the AL club but did not pitch…Became the 14th Japanese-born player to be selected to participate in the Midsummer Classic. Spent 8 seasons in the Nippon Professional Baseball league with the Saitama Seibu Lions, earning himself three NPB All-Star nods while fashioning a 73-46 record and a 2.77 ERA.

VS. THE YANKEES:
Facing the Yankees for the 2nd time this season and the 12th time in his career (10th start)…Met New York on 4/21 in the Bronx, tossing 6.0 frames of one-run ball (4H, 2BB, 3K)…Over his last 8 meetings with the Yankees (6 starts), has posted a 2.59 ERA (9 ER/31.1 IP) and a 1.15 WHIP while holding hitters to a .200 average.

NEW YORK YANKEES NOTES:

AT A GLANCE: The Yankees begin their final homestand of the season tonight with the first game of a three-game set vs. Toronto (through Thurs.)…will also play a three-game series vs. Arizona this weekend (Fri.-Sun.)…went 5-2 on their recent seven-game road trip, winning three-of-four games at Boston and winning two-of-three at Pittsburgh.  Have won three of their last four games and six of their last eight games (since 9/10). Since 8/28, have posted a Major League-best 14-6 (.700) record. Are 16-9 in their last 25 games (since 8/23). Eight of the Yankees’ last 10 wins have been come-from-behind wins (since 9/2). Have won five of their last six series (since 8/28).

WHERE WE LEFT OFF: The Yankees fell to the Pirates, 3-2, on Sunday at PNC Park…LHP Carlos Rodón (6.2IP, 6H, 3ER, 0BB, 10K, 1HR, 1WP) took the loss despite allowing just 3ER in 6.2IP…struck out Ke’Bryan Hayes in the fourth inning for his 1,000th career strikeout…1B DJ LeMahieu (1-for-4, 1 double, 1RBI) hit an RBI double in the sixth inning…SS Anthony Volpe (1-for-4, 1R, 1HR, 1RBI) hit a game-tying solo HR in the seventh inning…C Austin Wells (1-for-4, 1 double) and CF Estevan Florial (1-for-2, 1R) were the only other Yankees to pick up hits…3B Oswald Peraza (0-for-2, 2BB) extended his career-high on-base streak to 10 games… RHP Randy Vásquez (1.1IP, 2H) tossed 1.1 scoreless innings of relief.

FOR STARTERS: Yankees starters have posted a 3.04 ERA (142.0IP, 48ER) in their last 27 games (since 8/20)…have allowed 3ER-or-fewer in 25 of those 27 starts and 2ER-orfewer in 20 of those starts. ON A ROLL: INF Oswald Peraza has hit .333/.358/.490 (17- for-51) with 3R, 5 doubles, 1HR and 6RBI in his last 13 games (since 9/2)…also owns a career-high 10-game on-base streak (since 9/6).

GOT YOUR NUMBER: INF Gleyber Torres has hit .400/.429/.600 (8-for-20) with 1 double, 1HR and 1BB in his career vs. Toronto’s Yusei Kikuchi…INF DJ LeMahieu owns a career .333/.417/.429 slash line with 2 doubles and 3BB against Kikuchi.

WHERE’S WALDO: INF/OF Oswaldo Cabrera is batting .320/.433/.520 (8-for-25) with 4R, 2 doubles, 1HR, 3RBI, 5BB and 1SB in his last seven games (since 9/10).

SCHMIDT’S CREEK: RHP Clarke Schmidt will make his 31st appearance (30th start) of the season tonight…is 8-4 with a 3.91 ERA (106.0IP, 46ER) and 94K over his last 21 appearances (20 starts) since 5/19. Has allowed 3R-or-fewer in 23 starts this season, tied for the third-most such starts in the AL and tied for the fourth-most such starts in the Majors, trailing only San Diego’s Blake Snell (27), Minnesota’s Sonny Gray (27) and teammate Gerrit Cole (26). Has allowed 3ER-or-fewer in 19 of his last 20 starts (since 5/19), 21 of his last 23 starts (since 5/3) and 22 of his last 25 starts (since 4/23).

HIGH VOLPAGE: INF Anthony Volpe hit a game-tying solo HR in the seventh inning on Sunday at Pittsburgh…seven of his last 9HR and 10 of his 21HR this season have either tied the game (five) or given the Yankees the lead (five). His 21HR are tied for the sixth-most by a rookie in franchise history…trails Aaron Judge’s 52HR in 2017, Joe DiMaggio’s 29HR in 1936, Miguel Andújar’s 27HR in 2018, Joe Gordon’s 25HR in 1938 and Gleyber Torres’ 24HR in 2018…Kevin Maas also hit 21HR in 1990. His 21 career home runs are the seventh-most by a Yankee prior to his 23rd birthday in franchise history…trails Mickey Mantle (84HR from 1951-54), Joe DiMaggio (75HR from 1936-37), Gleyber Torres (62HR from 2018-19), Joe Pepitone (34HR from 1962-63), Ben Chapman (27HR from 1930-31) and Lou Gehrig (25HR from 1923-26). Is the fourth Yankees shortstop in franchise history to hit at least 21HR in a season (min. 50% games at SS), joining Derek Jeter (24HR in 1999, 23HR in 2004 and 21HR in 2001), Didi Gregorius (27HR in 2018 and 25HR in 2017) and Gleyber Torres (38HR in 2019). Ranks fifth among American League rookies and tied for eighth among Major League rookies in home runs.

BOUNCING BACK: LHP Carlos Rodón allowed 3ER over 6.2 innings on Sunday at Pittsburgh…has allowed 3ER-or-fewer in five of his last six starts (since 8/22). Struck out Ke’Bryan Hayes in the fourth inning for his 1,000th career strikeout.

WHAT A RELIEF: Yankees relievers have not allowed a run in their last 9.1 innings (since the seventh inning on Friday)…have posted a Major League-best 3.28 ERA this season…are one of two bullpens in the Majors to post an ERA under 3.50 (Milwaukee-3.49). Also lead the Majors with a .217 opponents’ BA…rank second in the Majors in HR/9.0IP (0.86) and third in WHIP (1.21).

BATTERS’ EYE: Since the All-Star break, the Yankees lead the Majors with a 9.15 PA/BB ratio and a 4.04 pitches per plate appearance ratio…their 242 walks since the
All-Star break are the most in the AL and second-most in the Majors, trailing only Los Angeles-NL (244)…prior to the All-Star break, ranked 20th in the Majors in PA/BB (11.90) and P/PA (3.86), and 23rd in walks (279).

LEMACHINE: INF DJ LeMahieu hit an RBI double in the sixth inning on Sunday at Pittsburgh…is batting .364/.391/.500 (8-for-22) with 4R, 3 doubles, 5RBI and 1BB in his last five games (since 9/12-G1). Has reached base in 15 of his last 16 games (since 8/30), 33 of his last 36 games (since 8/1), 50 of his last 55 games since 7/4) and 57 of his last 64 games (since 6/23). Is a career .332/.386/.526 (89-for-268) batter with 42R, 20 doubles, 1 triple, 10HR, 31RBI, 22BB and 4SB in 69 games vs. the Blue Jays…in 66 games vs. Toronto as a Yankee, has hit .336/.391/.533 (87-for-259) with 42R, 19 doubles, 1 triple, 10HR, 31RBI, 22BB and 4SB…owns the highest BA among players with at least 100PA against the Blue Jays as a Yankee (next: Oscar Gamble, .331, 48-for-145). 11 of his last 24H (since 8/23) have gone for extra bases (4 doubles, 7HR).

GLEYBER DAY: INF Gleyber Torres is batting .310/.404/.557 (49-for-158) with 27R, 12 doubles, 9HR, 21RBI, 23BB, 2HP and 5SB in 42 games (since 8/1)…has hit safely in 29 of those games and has reached base safely in 35 of those contests. Since 7/6, is batting .305/.375/.521 (72-for-236) with 37R, 13 doubles, 1 triple, 12HR, 29RBI, 26BB, 2HP, 3SF and 6SB in 61 games. Has recorded a career-high 62BB in 147 games this season.

PITCH PERFECT: Yankees pitchers retired 27 straight batters from the first out in the third inning on Saturday through the second inning on Sunday…have posted a 2.92 ERA (74.0IP, 24ER) and 83K over their last eight games (since 9/10).

TONIGHT’S STARTING PITCHER: RHP CLARKE SCHMIDT (9-8, 4.56 ERA)
RHP Clarke Schmidt will make his 31st appearance (30th start) of the season in tonight’s series opener vs. Toronto…the 27-year-old will make the start on regular four days’ rest…last pitched in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader at Boston, allowing 4R/3ER over 5.1IP (7H, 3BB, 3K, 1HR, 1HP) without recording a decision…is 8-4 with a 3.91 ERA (106.0IP, 46ER) and 94K over his last 21 appearances (20 starts) since 5/19…has allowed 3R-or-fewer in 18 of his last 20 starts (since 5/19), 20 of his last 23 starts (since 5/3) and 21 of his last 25 starts (since 4/23)…his 23 starts with 3R-or-fewer allowed are tied for the third-most such starts in the AL and tied for the fourth-most such starts in the Majors this season…has tossed at least 5.0 innings in 17 of his last 20 starts (since 5/19) and 20 of his last 25 starts (since 4/23) after not doing so in his first four starts this season…has tossed at least 6.0IP in two of his last four starts (since 8/26) after doing so just three times in his first 25 starts this season (4/1-8/20)…made his second career Opening Day roster in 2023 (also 2022)…was selected by the Yankees in the first round (16th overall) of the 2017 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of South Carolina.

LAST TIME OUT: Last pitched in Game 2 of Thursday’s doubleheader at Boston, allowing 4R/3ER over 5.1IP (7H, 3BB, 3K, 1HR, 1HP) without recording a decision…his 3BB matched his career high (ninth time). Marked just the second time in his last 20 starts (since 5/19) that he has allowed 4R-or-more (also 8R allowed on 8/14 at Atlanta).

VS. TORONTO: Has not allowed an earned run in four career appearances (one start) vs. Toronto…has gone 0-2 with 4R/0ER allowed over 8.1IP (5H, 4BB, 12K, 2HR) in those games. Made his first career start vs. the Blue Jays on 4/23 at Yankee Stadium, taking the loss despite allowing 3R/0ER with a career-high-tying 8K over 5.2IP (3H, 1BB, 2HR). Has made 11 starts vs. AL East opponents this season, going 2-4 with a 4.31 ERA (56.1IP, 27ER) and 52K…is 4-8 with one save and a 3.86 ERA (86.1IP, 75H, 46R/37ER, 31BB, 78K, 12HR) in 29 career appearances (13 starts) vs. the AL East.

HOME SWEET HOME: Is 4-5 with a 3.94 ERA (77.2IP, 34ER) and 74K in 16 appearances (15 starts) at home this season…has allowed 3R-or-fewer in 13 of those starts. Has made 31 appearances (17 starts) in his career at Yankee Stadium, going 6-7 with one save and a 3.80 ERA (109.0IP, 99H, 54R/46ER, 32BB, 104K, 16HR) in those games. Has tossed 5.0IP-or-more in each of his last nine home starts (since 5/25) and in 11 of his 15 home starts this season…has also allowed 3R-or-fewer in nine consecutive home starts (since 5/25) and in 13 of his 15 home starts this season.

2023: Has made 30 appearances (29 starts) this season, going 9-8 with a 4.56 ERA (146.0IP, 154H, 83R/74ER, 41BB, 142K, 21HR)…his 23 starts with 3R-or-fewer allowed are tied for the third-most such starts in the AL and tied for the fourth-most such starts in the Majors this season. Has allowed 3R-or-fewer in 18 of his last 20 starts (since 5/19), 20 of his last 23 starts (since 5/3) and 21 of his last 25 starts (since 4/23). Is 8-4 with a 3.91 ERA (106.0IP, 46ER) and 94K over his last 21 appearances (20 starts) since 5/19. Has tossed at least 5.0 innings in 17 of his last 20 starts (since 5/19) and 20 of his last 25 starts (since 4/23) after not doing so in his first four starts this season…has tossed at least 6.0IP in two of his last four starts (since 8/26) after doing so just three times in his first 25 starts this season (4/1-8/20). Had a 14-start streak of 3R-or-fewer allowed from 5/19-8/8, marking the fourth-longest such streak in the Majors this season, Trailing only San Diego’s Blake Snell’s 21-start streak (5/25-present), Minnesota’s Sonny Gray’s 17-start streak (4/1-7/2) and Cleveland’s Tanner Bibee’s 16-start streak (6/18-present). Recorded a 10-start undefeated streak from 6/11-8/8, going 6-0 with a 3.42 ERA (52.2IP, 20ER) in that span. Made his first relief appearance on 7/9 vs. Chicago-NL (0.2IP, 1K)…marked his first relief appearance since 10/4/22-G2 at Texas. Tossed a career-high 6.2IP on 8/26 at Tampa Bay. Did not allow a HR in four straight starts from 5/14-31, marking the longest homerless stretch of his career as a starter (previous: three straight starts from 6/16-9/3/22). In his eighth start of the season on 5/9 vs. Oakland, earned his first win of the season after allowing just 2ER over a career-high-tying 6.0IP (5H, 2BB, 7K, 1HR, 1WP)…marked his first career win as a starter… reached 100.0 career innings in the first inning. Struck out Ezequiel Duran (swinging) in the fifth inning on 4/28 at Texas for his 100th career strikeout… struck out Spencer Torkelson (swinging) in the fourth inning on 8/31 at Detroit for his 200th career strikeout.

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