After a fairly disappointing first half of the season, the Yankees have been playing some good ball since the All-Star break, winning six of their seven games, including three of four against the Texas Rangers this week.
Now the Bombers welcome the Toronto Blue Jays to town, a team that has lost 16 consecutive games in Yankee Stadium dating back to 2012, including includes a pair of three-game sweeps this year. With the Red and Rangers out of the way, I'd say this could be a great end to what has been a pretty good homestand for the Yankees.
The second have of the Blue Jays' season has gotten off to just as good of a start as the Yankees. The Jays just took three straight games away from the Boston Red Sox this week, and are 5-2 since the break. The Blue Jays enter the game tied for second place in the AL East with the Yankees, who enter play just three games back of the division-leading Baltimore Orioles.
Toronto is dealing with several injuries that could play a factor over the weekend, with Edwin Encarnacion (quad), Adam Lind (foot) and Brett Lawrie (finger) all on the DL.
Tonight's lineup against Toronto:
LF Brett Gardner
SS Derek Jeter
CF Jacoby Ellsbury
DH Carlos Beltran
1B Brian McCann
3B Chase Headley
RF Ichiro Suzuki
2B Brian Roberts
C Francisco Cervelli
* The Yankees announced today that they have designated RHP Chris Leroux for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for LHP Chris Capuano, who was acquired last night for cash in a trade with the Rockies. Capuano was added to the Yankees' big league roster, giving Joe Girardi four lefties in his bullpen. Overkill, if you ask me.
Pitching matchup preview:
Hiroki Kuroda, the Yankees' ace-by-default, will be on the hill for the Bombers tonight in the opener of this three-game series.
Making his second start of the first half, Kuroda last took the mound against the Reds last weekend, tossing 6.2 inning of shutout ball, giving up just three hits.
While the Blue Jays haven't beaten the Yankees in the Bronx since 2012, Mark Buehrle's losing streak against the Yankees is even longer, as the left-hander hasn't defeated the Yankees in over a decade.
And All-Star for the first time in five years during the first half of the season, Buehrle has not won a start since picking up his 10th win of the season on June 1, going 0-6 since then. He's now 10-6 with a 2.86 ERA this season.
Buehrle took the mound against the Rangers on Sunday in Toronto, giving up five runs on eight hits in six innings of work.