Ichiro Suzuki can hear you, Michael Kay. Hall of Fame introductions coming up this weekend, the Future Hall of Fame outfielder, Ichiro, picked the perfect time to his his first homerun of the season last night, a three-run shot that put Yankees up 6-4, a lead which they would not give up after falling behind 3-0 in the 1st inning.
With last night's win over the Toronto Blue Jays in the first of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium this weekend, the Yankees extended their home winning streak over the Jays to an insane 17 games. Not since 2012 have the Blue Jays beaten the Yankees in the Bronx. And even more amazingly, they've held a lead in 12 of those 17 games.
Because the Baltimore Orioles won last night, defeating the Seattle Mariners, 2-1, in 10 innings, the Yankees, who are playing great baseball right now, 8-1 since the All-Star break, remained just three games behind the O's in the ever-so-winnable AL East, while the Jays fell to four games back.
Today's lineup vs 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
* Joe Girardi told reporters yesterday that he doesn't expect Mark Teixeira to be ready by the end of the weekend, but hopes that he'll be ready to get back in the lineup by Monday, when the team opens up a three-game series in Texas.
Teixeira did a few exercises and some running on Friday as he tries to recover from a mild strain in his lower left lat that has kept him out of the lineup since Monday.
During his absence, McCann has been playing first base, while Cervelli gets the chance to be showcased behind the plate for any interested trad suitors.
Pitching matchup preview:
Acquired by the Yankees from the Colorado Rockies for cash on Thursday night, the Yankees will send left-hander Chris Capuano to the mound on Saturday for his first start in pinstripes, while Chase Whitley has been moved into the bullpen.
Capuano, who was 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in four minor league starts with Colorado after being signed on July 4, will be the first lefty to start for the Yankees this season since good ol' Vidal Nuno before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks. With Nuno gone and CC Sabathia done for the year, this is all they've got.
Meanwhile, right-hander Drew Hutchinson will be on the hill for the Blue Jays today. He's coming off of the shortest outing his his career -- not including injuries -- after giving up a career-high six earned runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Boston Red Sox.
He'll be looking for a much better day as he goes up against a guy that hasn't started in the big leagues this season.
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)