The Toronto Blue Jays (87-69) look to strengthen their grip on an AL Wild Card spot as they welcome the New York Yankees up north for a three-game set starting on Tuesday. First pitch from Rogers Centre is set for 7:07 p.m. ET. Michael King (4-7, 2.66 ERA) will look to keep his hot month rolling on the mound for New York, while Toronto counters with ace Kevin Gausman (12-9, 3.29).
The Jays enter as -162 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the Yankees at +136. The run total is set at seven.
Yankees-Blue Jays picks: Tuesday, September 26
Out: RP Tommy Kahnle (shoulder), RP Wandy Peralta (triceps), OF Jasson Dominguez (elbow), RP Keynan Middleton (shoulder), OF Billy McKinney (back)
Day to day: 1B/DH Brandon Belt (back)
Out: C Danny Jansen (finger), RP Adam Cimber (shoulder)
Michael King vs. Kevin Gausman
The Yankees have been just looking for some reasons for optimism in 2024 this month, and they’ve gotten a huge one in King. Long one of the team’s best bullpen weapons, New York stretched him out in the rotation more or less out of necessity — only for King to turn into one of the best starters in the league this month. The righty has pitched to a tidy 1.66 ERA in four September starts, with 34 strikeouts in just 21.2 innings. That includes a dominant effort against these same Jays last week, when King fanned 13 over seven innings of one-run ball in a hard-luck loss (against none other than Gausman). He’s yet to allow more than a single earned run in any of his six starts this season.
Gausman will likely fall short to Gerrit Cole in the AL Cy Young race, but he still carries as much upside as any pitcher in the league. The righty can be susceptible to the occasional crooked number when he doesn’t have the usual feel for his splitter (he’s allowed six or more runs four times this year), but when he does, he’s darn near unhittable — with a 93rd-percentile K rate and nine starts of double-digit Ks this season. Three of those nine have come against New York, as Gausman has owned the Yankees so far to the tune of an 0.90 ERA and 31 Ks over 20 innings across three starts.
When these two teams squared off in New York last week, the totals were eight, seven and eight, with the Yankees scoring more than one run just once in three games. The game in which Gausman and King pitched wound up with a 6-1 final, but only because Toronto tacked on five runs in the eighth and ninth innings. The Yankees haven’t proven they can do anything at all against Gausman, and barring another bullpen blowup, I think we’ll stay under this number.
Pick: Under 7
Toronto is the team with something to play for, and for as good as King has been of late, I still trust Gausman a little bit more — especially given the lineup he has backing him and how great he’s been against New York this season.
Pick: Blue Jays -162