The Toronto Blue Jays are clinging to a slim lead in the American League Wild Card race over the American League West teams that are trying to track them down and turn to their ace to deal on the road against the New York Yankees on Wednesday.
Toronto Blue Jays (-110, 7.5) vs. New York Yankees
Kevin Gausman gets the start for the Blue Jays and comes in as the American League’s leader in strikeouts per nine innings (11.6), and is posting a 3.40 ERA and 3.04 fielding independent.
The home and road splits are pretty equal with Gausman as he enters having allowed one home run per nine innings this season with a 3.52 ERA on the road compared to a 3.30 home ERA. And now, he gets to face a Yankees’ offense having all sorts of issues.
Across the Yankees’ last 90 games entering this series (dating back to June 4) — the first game the team played without Aaron Judge when he went on the injured list with a toe injury, the team ranks 29th in the league in runs per game with 3.9 and the team’s .218 batting average in that span is 10 points lower than any other team in the league.
Meanwhile, the Blue Jays’ offense has been far better on the road than at home this season, entering the series averaging 4.2 runs per game at home compared to 4.9 runs per game on the road all while committing the third-fewest strikeouts per at-bat of any American League team.
The Yankees turn to Michael King for the start on the mound, who began the season in the bullpen. This will be his seventh start of the season.
King has been effective as a starter but unable to go deep into games, posting a 1.93 ERA with 12.3 strikeouts per nine innings while averaging just under four innings a start and has yet to go behind five innings.
Overall this season, the Yankees have the league’s lowest bullpen ERA, but since June 26, the Blue Jays have the lower bullpen ERA at 3.50, which ranks sixth in the league while the Yankees’ 3.73 ERA ranks 10th.
With the Yankees having to face Gausman with their offensive woes coupled with King being effective but unable to go deep into games, the Blue Jays will get a big win for their playoff hopes.
The Play: Blue Jays -110