The Yankees come to Toronto for the last time this year, and are the second last team to grace the Dome this year. They've pretty much locked up the division and homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs, and have an outside shot at 100 wins (they have to go 10-4.) So, there's that.
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Friday: C.C. Sabathia vs. Dustin McGowan
Breaking: Brett Cecil got scratched from his start this afternoon for cutting a finger on his pitching hand while cleaning a blender (really.) Dustin McGowan gets bumped up from Sunday to today, and Kyle Drabek will be his caddy.
Well, in case you didn't know it C.C. Sabathia is really, really good. It's fair to say that Justin Verlander is probably having the superior season, as he does lead the AL in the traditional triple crown statistics. If you want to adjust at all for the fact that Yankee Stadium plays as a huge hitters park, or that by wOBA 5 of the best 8 hitting teams play in the AL East while 4 of the bottom 8 play in the AL Central (the exception being the Tigers, who Verlander doesn't face), or that Verlander's batting average on balls in play is 80 points lower than Sabathia's, and, well, it's not such a slam dunk, though I would bet literally everything I own that Verlander wins the Cy Young in a landslide. Anyway. Sabathia is still the power pitcher who goes deep into games, mixing in four pitchers. He relies predominantly on a fastball that comes in around 93-94, and on a 10 MPH slower slider that is one of the best pitches in baseball. According to pitchFX he is throwing a curveball for the first time in about five seasons, though I think that may be a classification issue. Lastly CC will throw a hard changeup, Brad Mills fastball speed. Expect to see him a couple times - he's pitched fewer than 6 innings exactly once this year, in April, when he went 5.2 against the Red Sox, and he's allowed 5 earned runs and struck out 25 in his last three starts totaling 19.1 innings. Against the Jays he's given up 7 runs in 24.1 innings - that's only three starts. JPA is 2/13 lifetime, Edwin 6/23, Yunel Escobar 4/17, Kelly Johnson 1/7, Mark Teahan 12/38, Jose Molina 0/14 and Jose Bautista an incredible 0/18, albeit with a walk.
Saturday: Bartolo Colon vs. Henderson Alvarez
Bartolo is still old and still portly, and before he allowed a solitary unearned run against the Angels over seven in his last start had been getting knocked around a bit, including by the Jays who scored 4 in 6.1. In his other three starts against Toronto he gave up 2, 6 and 8 runs. Colon's secret to success this year has been his regained his velocity, and he is pumping in 4 seamers in the mid-low 90s (92-93) to go along with his sinker. He has a hard slider about 10 MPH slower, and will throw about 4-5 change-up's a game. JPA is 2/8, Bautista 3/8, both with homers. Mark Teahan is 3/17, Yunel 4/10, Encarnacion 2/12, Lind 3/11.
Sunday: Freddy Garcia vs. Brendon Morrow?
While McGowan has been pushed up, no starter has been announced for Sunday yet. I'm gonna go ahead and guess Morrow, as he's next in line and the Jays had two off-days this past week.
Freddy Garcia's success has to be considered less shocking than Colon's, at least by a little. Garcia is three years younger and had a good season in 2009, though the end of his run as a consistently good pitcher was in 2005. Garcia has lost zip on his fastball though, almost four mph from his hey day, but the pitch has never been better than average in the Majors and he only throws it about a third of the time. To compensate Garcia's throwing his good split fingered pitch much more than he has in the past. Topping out around 80, Garcia gets good arm action on the splitter, while mixing in a pretty decent curve and still effective slider, and the occasional change-up. After a strong couple months towards the end of summer, Garcia has been getting knocked around a bit in his last two, giving up 12 runs to those noted offensive powerhouses Anaheim and Baltimore. He's given up 12 runs in 16.1 innings against the Jays this year. Jose Molina is 9/25, Teahan 8/24, Lind 2/6, Bautista 4/8, and Thames and Arencibia good in limited samples, 3/6 and 2/3.
Otherwise, the Yanquis are the powerhouse we all know and love. I know not everyone loves WAR, but the Bronx Bombers have a remarkable 6 players who achieve the 4 WAR threshold. It seems a new generation of Yankees is taking over, led by Granderson, Cano, Teix, Brett Gardner, Nick Swisher, etc.
Mariano Rivera is also exactly one save behind Trevor Hoffman, 600 to 601, for the all-time lead in saves, so he could tie and even surpass Hoffman this year, though he has in fact been the far superior pitcher overall. Sabathia is also going for win number 20.
A-Rod has been out the last five games (deja vu!) but may be back tonight.
Since making his second and third starts against Toronto, Jesus Montero has been alright; his overall line is .286/.359/.571 in 39 PA almost exclusively as a DH.
Finally for the Jays, Colby Ramus and Brett Lawrie are back in the lineup but Yunel Escobar remains on the bench after getting hit by a pitch last Sunday. It also looks like Lind and E5 are being flipped in the 4/5 spots, while Edwin taking over cleanup responsibilities.
Infirmary: Joba is done for the year, while Francisco Cervelli and Damaso Marte are out for the series. As mentioned, A-Rod may be back today.
Credit: Fangraphs and Yahoo! Sports.