“It’s very exciting. These are big games here.”

New York Yankees' Luis Severino pitches to the Tampa Bay Rays during the first inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

They are expecting another sellout crowd this evening at Rogers Centre, where the Yankees will send 21-year-old Luis Severino to the mound in hopes of keeping their divisional aspirations in play. Toronto gives the ball to right-hander Marco Estrada.

For Severino, this will be the third time that he has faced the Blue Jays in just nine big league starts. He limited Toronto to three runs and five hits in an impressive nine-strikeout performance on Aug. 16 at Rogers Centre, but was knocked around for six runs in 2 1/3 innings by the Jays on Sept. 11 in New York.

“I have to do different things,” Severino said. “Last time I was up the whole time; this time, I want to throw the ball down, get my command. … It’s very exciting. These are big games here. I want to try my best to win.”

Playoff picture: The Yankees (82-67) trail the Blue Jays (86-64) by 3 1/2 games in the American League East. The Yankees lead the Astros (80-71) by three games for the first Wild Card spot.

Baseball Prospectus has the Yankees with a 99.6 percent chance of making the postseason, and a 10.6 percent chance of winning the division.


Clubhouse report

– Here’s some high praise for you — in terms of temperament and competitiveness, Joe Girardi compared Severino to Andy Pettitte. Obviously there are a lot of differences between the two guys – for starters, they throw with different arms – but it’s never a bad thing to be linked to a guy who’s in Monument Park.

“The situation never seemed to faze Andy,” Girardi said. “I first was around Andy in 1996, he was pretty young, had won 18 or 19 games, had that game in Atlanta that he won 1-0 after getting pounded in his first start in the World Series. Andy probably showed more emotion than Severino, but I think inside, they’re a lot alike.”

– Alex Rodriguez was in the Yankees’ lineup on Tuesday, reporting no issues after fouling a ball off his left ankle in Monday’s loss. Rodriguez crumpled to the ground and was seen on the field by Girardi and head athletic trainer Steve Donohue, but remained in the game.

– Third baseman Chase Headley committed his team-leading 22nd error on a throw in Monday’s loss. It is by far a career-high for Headley, whose next highest total was his 13 errors with the Padres in 2010.

“I think it becomes frustrating for players,” Girardi said. “You think about it a little bit. Chase is strong enough inside that he goes out and plays the game every day, and he’s handled it well.”

MLB Network’s three to watch

New York Yankees' Greg Bird watches his home run off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Andrew Bellatti during the ninth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Greg Bird is batting .333 (7-21 AB) with four home runs and eight RBI during his six-game hitting streak. He’s homered in each of his last two games.

Edwin Encarnacion has reached base safely in 21 straight games against the Yankees, with a .333/.391/.641 line as well as six home runs and 15 RBI.

Marco Estrada ranks sixth in the American League with a 3.14 ERA. Estrada is 1-2 with a 4.09 ERA (22 IP, 10 ER) in four starts against the Yankees this season.

Stat so?

Toronto leads the season series over New York, 12 games to five. It’s the first time in franchise history that the Blue Jays have beaten the Yankees 12 times in a season.

On this date

1946: Yogi Berra makes his Major League debut, going 2-for-4 with a two-run home run in the first game of a doubleheader vs. Philadelphia.

Quote to note

“He seems to have a really good head on his shoulders. I’m sure he learned a lot about what he needs to do. He had a pretty good start against them here, then he struggled. He knew what the difference was. It was his command.” — Girardi, on what Severino might have learned from his last start vs. Toronto.

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