Yankees return home to face division rivals
Coming off a 5-4 road trip, this kicks off an important stretch for the Yankees, who welcome the Blue Jays to town for a three-game series, immediately followed by a showdown with the Orioles.
After that, they’ll see the Jays in Toronto, welcome the Red Sox to town and then go head-to-head with the Rays. The Yankees won’t see a non-AL East opponent until July 3, when they visit the Twins.
“You don’t want to make too much of it, but it’s obviously an important period when you’re going to see the teams that we’re going to see,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s a huge stretch against East Coast teams and we have a chance to make up ground and build distance between other teams and ourselves, which I think is really important.”
The Blue Jays might have dropped off some radars after they were winter darlings a year ago and failed to live up to the hype, but Girardi said that the Yankees never overlooked their neighbors to the north, who sit atop the American League East.
“You knew how dangerous they were offensively. They went through some injuries last year just like everybody else,” Girardi said. “Sometimes it’s hard to overcome those. They’ve had a pretty consistent rotation, for the most part, this year. They’ve had to some make changes, they’ve had some guys that have gotten out to great starts. But we knew that they were very talented.”
Here are the pitching matchups for the Toronto series:
Tues., 6/17 vs. Toronto
RHP Masahiro Tanaka (10-1, 2.02) vs. RHP Marcus Stroman (3-1, 5.18) 7:05 p.m. My9
Wed., 6/18 vs. Toronto
RHP Chase Whitley (2-0, 2.41) vs. LHP Mark Buehrle (10-3, 2.28) 7:05 p.m. YES
Thurs., 6/19 vs. Toronto
RHP David Phelps (2-4, 4.32) vs. RHP Drew Hutchison (5-4, 3.62) 7:05 p.m. YES