1:05 PM ET, August 22, 2013
Yankee Stadium, New York, New York
Toronto: Happ (3-2, 4.93 ERA)
New York: Pettitte (8-9, 4.39 ERA)
Now that Alfonso Soriano is on board the New York Yankees MLB playoff hopes have been brought back to life.
Facing the Toronto Blue Jays at home has done wonders for the Bronx Bombers the last two years.
After breaking out of a slump with a clutch homer, Soriano will try to assist the Yankees beat the Blue Jays for a 13th straight meeting in the Bronx tonight.
Looking to find a big bat, the Yankees (67-59) re-acquired Soriano in a trade with the Chicago Cubs last month. The 37 year-old has given New York a breath of fresh air, batting .284 with nine homers, 28 RBIs and 20 runs in 24 games. Eight of those homers and 24 of the RBIs have come in 13 wins.
Soriano came up big again last night, connecting for a go-ahead, two-run shot with two outs in the eighth inning of a 4-2 win over Toronto (57-70). The left fielder had been 0 for 13 over the previous three games.
New York is 6 1/2 games behind East-leading Boston Red Sox and four games back of the Oakland Athletics for the second wild-card spot.
Concluding this four-game series versus Toronto would seem to be a positive thing.
The Yankees have won 21 of the past 23 meetings with the AL East rival at Yankee Stadium, including 12 in a row for the longest such streak by either team in the all-time series.
Taking the mound for the Yanks will be Andy Pettitte (8-9, 4.39) who will try to pitch his club to a fifth straight victory overall by building on Friday’s 10-3 win versus the Red Sox. The veteran didn’t allow an earned run for the first time this MLB season, as all three he gave up over 6 2/3 innings came courtesy of two errors by Eduardo Nunez.
Toronto, having lost four straight overall, is trying to win in the Bronx for the first time since Aug. 29.
The Blue Jays will counter with J.A. Happ (3-2, 4.93), who has been very good in two starts since returning from a scary incident.
According to the MLB moneyline, the Illinois native pitched seven strong innings versus the Athletics on Aug. 12 in his first appearance after being hit in the head by a line drive May 7. The World Series champion returned to the scene of that accident and limited the Tampa Bay Rays to two runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 6-2 win Saturday.