1:05 PM ET, August 20, 2013
Yankee Stadium, New York, New York
Toronto: Rogers (3-7, 4.91 ERA)
New York: Nova (6-4, 2.99 ERA)
Alex Rodriguez is surely taking plenty of the spotlight for the New York Yankees. However, the team will try to keep going tonight in a doubleheader versus the last-place Toronto Blue Jays, losers of nine straight MLB games in the Bronx.
A-Rod has given the Bronx Bombers (64-59) a huge lift since coming off the disabled list Aug. 5, going 12 for 32 (.375) with two homers and six RBIs during the Yankees’ 6-2 run.
The New York native came up especially big in Sunday’s 9-6 victory versus the Boston Red Sox. After getting hit by a Ryan Dempster fastball in the second inning, the 38 year-old third baseman responded with his 649th career homer in the sixth to spark a four-run rally.
In addition to his suspension, Rodriguez is at odds with the club’s management over the more than $80 million he is owned through 2017. the player’s lawyer also declined MLB’s challenge to make public evidence that led to the slugger’s suspension.
New York will try to take advantage of playing Toronto (57-67) in the Bronx, where they’ve won 18 of 20, including nine straight by a 47-25 margin. They Yanks have also won 19 of 25 in the series overall.
The Blue Jays dropped two of three versus the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, falling 2-1 in 10 innings on Sunday. Edwin Encarnacion hit his team-leading 31st homer, however Toronto suffered its seventh walkoff defeat and eighth in extras.
Starting for the Yankees tonight will be Ivan Nova (6-4, 2.99 ERA), who is 4-2 with a 1.89 ERA in his last seven starts. According to the MLB live lines, the 26 year-old allowed a season-high 10 hits but managed to limit the damage Wednesday, yielding three runs in 7 1/3 innings in an 11-3 victory versus the Los Angeles Angels.
The right-hander, 2-0 with a 4.05 ERA in four career home starts versus the Blue Jays, will square off against Esmil Rogers (3-7, 4.91). The Dominican Republic native had posted a 14.59 ERA in losing a season-high three consecutive starts before throwing six innings of one-run ball in Wednesday’s 4-3, 10-inning victory versus the Boston Red Sox.
New York and many of their online sports betting fans would like to see Phil Hughes (4-12, 4.97) get back on track in Game 2. The 27 year-old is looking to snap a career-worst five-game skid after yielding three runs in six innings in Thursday’s 8-4 defeat versus Los Angeles.