BLUE JAYS (34-58) AT YANKEES (58-31)
1:05 p.m. ET; YES, MLBN, SN, TVAS, MLB.TV
The start of the second half could not have been more visually pleasing for the New York Yankees on Friday, with a dominant pitching performance and a big hit from the middle of their potent lineup highlighting the series-opening victory against Toronto.
Now, after getting a dominant outing by Domingo German and a clutch hit from Edwin Encarnacion, the Yankees will look to add to the American League’s best record Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium when they continue a three-game series with the Blue Jays.
The Yankees improved to 58-31 when German fanned seven in six innings of three-hit ball and Encarnacion hit a bases-clearing three-run double in the fifth. Friday’s 4-0 win gave the Yankees their 17th win in 21 games on a night when they did not homer for the second time in the last 38 games.
“We’re capable right now of being great and we have a chance to be the best team in the world,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone told reporters Friday afternoon. “We believe that, everyone in that room.”
The Yankees hold that top record despite an extensive injury list and will get first baseman Luke Voit back from a brief absence with an abdominal strain. Voit is returning after missing eight games since getting hurt two weeks ago in London. He was hitting .280 with 17 homers and 50 RBIs in 78 games before missing time.
Toronto will attempt to avoid a fifth loss in six games. Toronto has lost five straight to the Yankees after going 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and getting blanked for the sixth time Friday.
“It’s the AL East, man,” Toronto right-hander Aaron Sanchez said of the Yankees. “You can’t shy away. We were that team at one point and now you know how it feels.”
The Blue Jays will likely continue to bat rookie Vladimir Guerrero Jr. fifth on Saturday. Guerrero is hitting .249 after getting thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double in the seventh inning on Friday, his only hit in four at-bats. The Blue Jays were down 4-0 at the time and would have had two on and none out had Guerrero remained at first.
Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo did not have an issue with the intent of the Guerrero’s play, but the same can’t be said for the timing of Guerrero’s decision.
“That wasn’t the best decision but I appreciate him going all out to make it to second — but it wasn’t the best decision in this game down four,” Montoyo said.
J.A. Happ (7-4, 5.02 ERA) will start against his former team and is 14-4 with a 4.05 ERA in 28 starts since joining the Yankees last July. He last pitched July 4 when he allowed one run on three hits in 5 1/3 innings in a no-decision at Tampa Bay.
Happ leads the Yankees with 20 homers allowed and has allowed 13 at home, where he owns a 6.29 ERA.
The left-hander is 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA in four career starts against Toronto.
Toronto’s Clayton Richard (1-5, 6.23 ERA) starts for the third time against the Yankees this season on Saturday. Richard is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA in two starts so far against the Yankees, who homered off him four times in those games.
The veteran left-hander last pitched a week ago against Baltimore when he allowed three runs on seven hits in six innings of an 8-1 loss.
–Field Level Media