The Blue Jays have already won this extremely important series in New York, but a win today would REALLY be something else. Marco Estrada will look to lead Toronto to its 11th victory in 12 games, though he will be in tough going up against Masahiro Tanaka.
Cliff Pennington, who the Blue Jays acquired from Arizona yesterday, is available off the bench. Munenori Kawasaki has been optioned to AAA Buffalo to clear a roster spot for the new addition.
ROSTER MOVE: Cliff Pennington has reported today and INF Munenori Kawasaki has been optioned to @BuffaloBisons (AAA)— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) August 9, 2015
Edwin Encarnacion, who looked to injure himself late in yesterday's game, is not in the starting lineup. Chris Colabello will instead be the DH, who looks to be a very good Plan B. Russell Martin has also been given the day off, as Dioner Navarro seems to be turning into Marco Estrada's personal catcher.
I have no idea why Dioner Navarro is hitting cleanup today, he really hasn't posted strong offensive numbers this year. I don't know of many teams that hit its backup catcher cleanup, but hopefully it works out.
The Jays bench is very limited today. By carrying 8 relievers, Toronto only has 3 bench players to begin with. If Edwin Encarnacion is injured, that narrows it down to just Martin and Cliff Pennington.
This would be a very impressive win for the Blue Jays, as Masahiro Tanaka is a very good pitcher. Tanaka has a high strikeout rate, a low walk rate, and generates a good amount of ground balls. He posses a very good splitter, which seems to constantly get hitters to chase. However, Tanaka has been homer prone in his short MLB career, so the Blue Jays may be able to use the long ball to squeak out a win.
Marco Estrada is coming off a very strong start against the Minnesota Twins, but Yankee Stadium is not tailored to his game. Estrada is an extreme fly ball pitcher, making the short porch in right field a key concern. If Marco can keep the ball in the ball park, a strong outfield defence should be able to run down the numerous fly balls. Avoiding the home run should be the key to the game for both pitchers. The Yankees appear to be playing its starting lineup today, meaning Estrada will face eight left-handed hitters. Estrada has actually been better against lefties this season, so this could actually work in his favour and allow him to utilize his great change-up.
Aaron Sanchez and Mark Lowe both pitched one inning in yesterday's game, but they should be available on back-to-back days. LaTroy Hawkins, Brett Cecil, and Roberto Osuna all pitched one inning on Friday. Aaron Loup, Liam Hendriks, and Bo Schultz are all very well rested, so the Blue Jays should have a full eight-man bullpen at its disposal.
Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, and Justin Wilson should all be available for the Yankees after having yesterday off. Both teams do not play tomorrow, so I expect neither manager to hold anything back. Bryan Mitchell, a long reliever, will likely be the only reliever not available after pitching three innings yesterday.
What's Better Than Sweeping the Yankees?
The Blue Jays have not swept a 3+ game series against Yankees in New York since May 2003. Here is the Fangraphs game log of the final game of that series, which saw Josh Phelps and Greg Myers deliver with two RBI's each. Doug Davis started that game for the Jays.
Update on EE:
EE getting day off because his left middle finger is tender. Two days rest with off-day Monday. #BlueJays— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) August 9, 2015