The Yankees are in a spot that not many of us thought they would be in this late in the year. Although the Athletics lost on Thursday, they still trail the Yankees just 1.5 games for the top Wild Card spot. Oakland has won six of their last seven while the Yankees have gone 3-4 in that span.
The offense is dead right now while the pitching has been mediocre. Simply put, the Yankees need to start playing like a playoff team, and it has to start with this series. They play the Blue Jays, who have been out of the playoff race for months. It is a team they need to take care of and dominate as they should. An off-day on Thursday likely was a good thing, as the players can clear their heads and get ready for a battle to keep home field advantage for the Wild Card.
Game 1: Masahiro Tanaka vs Marco Estrada
Tanaka (11-5, 3.61 ERA) has been the most consistent pitcher for the Yankees in the second half. Outing after outing, we see some 2017 Postseason Tanaka pitching, as he’s allowed one earned run in his last 15 innings pitched. Even better, especially for a pitcher prone to giving up the long ball, Tanaka has allowed just one home run in his past five starts.
Against the Blue Jays, he’s thrown once this year (6.0 IP, 3 H, 1 ER) and owns a 2.86 ERA in 16 career starts.
Estrada (7-11, 5.32 ERA) has been erratic this year. He had an August ERA of 6.15 and an even worse 6.97 ERA in two starts in September. He seemingly starts every time the Yankees face the Blue Jays, as Estrada has a 4.50 ERA in three starts this season. Overall, he is 7-3 with a 4.11 ERA in 18 appearances (17 starts)
Game 2: CC Sabathia vs Sean Reid-Foley
It is evident that Sabathia (7-6, 3.54 ERA) is laboring through this last month of the season. He has not gone past six innings in a start since June 29. Although, you can count on the leftie to keep the Yankees in the game. He may not be able to pitch as long as Aaron Boone would like him to, but he will usually exit with a chance to win still in tact.
He owns a career 3.48 ERA in starts against the Blue Jays. In three starts this season, Sabathia has pitched to a 1.65 ERA and has gone an average of 5.1 innings in those starts.
Reid-Foley (1-3, 6.86 ERA) got crushed by the Yankees in his last outing against them (4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 HR. he got sent back down after that then got recalled as part of September call-ups. Since the recall, he has a 5.40 ERA in two starts.
Game 3: Lance Lynn vs Thomas Pannone
Lynn (9-10, 5.01 ERA) bounced back from an atrocious string of starts and allowed just two runs over six innings in his last start against Seattle. He was slowly starting to fade away, but quickly proved he can still contribute to the team. Hopefully the rest of his starts are more like this last one instead of the four before that. Although, he has been tagged pretty good against the Blue Jays this season (11 ER in 9.0 IP).
Pannone (2-1, 4.13 ERA) has been a spot starter/reliever since the beginning of August. He seems inconsistent, as he shut out the Orioles for seven innings in one start, then got destroyed for seven runs by the same Orioles team in the next start. He has allowed four home runs in 24.0 IP, and all of them have come in games he has started.