It all comes down to the next 10 days for the Toronto Blue Jays.
The American League East has quickly slipped away from the Blue Jays by this point, with Boston sitting 5.5 games ahead. Toronto hasn’t exactly locked down the A.L. wild card race, though, and sit just one game clear of the Detroit Tigers for home field advantage in the one-game play-in.
Follow the four games at home versus New York, Baltimore stops in for a three-game set and the Blue Jays finish their season in Boston. That final series does leave the door open to the razor-thin possibility that, if Toronto can go on a 6-1 or 7-0 run, the Red Sox would be within reach via a series sweep.
New York Yankees player notes:
Gary Sanchez – There’s a strong argument to be made that Sanchez has been the best player in Major League Baseball since being called up — by a comfortable margin, too. In his last five games alone, Sanchez has five home runs and 11 RBI. He now has 19 home runs in just 43 games played, and figures to be a thorn in the side of the Blue Jays for many, many years.
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Aaron Judge – Another of New York’s young stars, Judge remains on the disabled list with an oblique strain so he won’t be making an appearance in Canada. The 2017 season could be his real coming out party.
Starlin Castro – Castro could also miss some or all of the series in Toronto as he’s dealing with a hamstring injury. Castro has hit 21 home runs this season for New York.
Ronald Torreyes – With Castro out, the 24-year-old Torreyes should be seeing some more playing time down the stretch. Torreyes tore the cover off the ball in August but has cooled down a bit. He is now hitting .271 on the season.
Billy Butler – After his departure from the Oakland Athletics — and his dear friend Danny Valencia — Butler is in pinstripes and has enjoyed a nice start. He’s recorded hits in all six of his games and should see some at-bats in Toronto.
Donovan Solano – Solano is an interesting story and has appeared in each of New York’s last four games. After being a near-regular with the Marlins for a few seasons, Solano joined New York in 2016 and led the triple-A International League in hits with 163 (.319 AVG). He was the only player in the league with more base hits than Toronto’s Jesus Montero.
Scheduled pitching matchups:
Friday, September 23 – 7:07 p.m. ET
Francisco Liriano (7-13, 5.08) vs. Bryan Mitchell (1-1, 6.00 ERA)
Saturday, September 24 – 4:07 p.m. ET
Marcus Stroman (9-9, 4.50 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (8-12, 4.19 ERA)
Sunday, September 25 – 1:07 p.m. ET
Marco Estrada (9-9, 3.62 ERA) vs. Michael Pineda (6-11, 4.89 ERA)
Monday, September 26 – 7:07 p.m. ET
J.A. Happ (20-4, 3.28 ERA) vs. TBD