Across the Diamond
On the offensive side of things, the Yankees lineup is a very veteran heavy group. Brett Gardner, Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Mark Teixeira have all been around for plenty of time and don’t offer the same ceiling they used to due to deteriorating physical skills, but they still possess good plate discipline, the ability to put strong at bats together, and good barrel to ball skills.
Despite them struggling on the offensive side of the ball for much of the year, they still have the ability to grind out at bats, and find away to scrape across runs due to their veteran presence. That’s exactly what happened in the first game of their series earlier this year, with the Yankees winning 3-2 in the first game.
They didn’t blow the Jays away in any aspect of the game, except in the late innings with their bullpen, but they managed to scrape across an extra run while being able to hold the Jays bats off. In the latter two games, the Jays put up seven and four runs on offence, and we’re able to keep the Yankee bats in check, giving up four combined runs in those games.
If the Jays can do a decent job on offence by getting to their starters early in the game, then they should be able to handle the veteran Yankee hitters to the point where they can win the series.
So far this year, the Yankees don’t have any standouts offensively, but instead have a group of hitters sitting in the 105-120 wRC+ range. Gardner, Beltran, Ellsbury, McCann, and Starlin Castro have put up numbers between 103 and 122, but their offence as a whole is being dragged down by Chase Headley at 62, Didi Gregorius at 74, Teixeira at 63, and Aaron Hicks at 50.
It’s an offence that doesn’t have the firepower the Jays’ offence possesses, and it still has the black holes that give pitchers a break. This isn’t a lineup that strikes fear into the opposing pitcher, and the Jays’ pitchers will need to attack them at all times.
Ultimately, the Yankees are on their best streak so far this year, so from that perspective, the Jays get them at an unlucky time, but I don’t believe they have the rotation or the lineup to contend with the Jays. If they give a lead to their bullpen, they’re more than likely to win the game, and if the Jays can prevent that, they have a good chance to walk away with a second consecutive series victory.
Let’s dive in to the game-by-game pitching matchups:
Next: Game 1 Preview: A mismatch of styles