Man, can you believe it’s been a whole four days since the Yankees have played the Blue Jays? Feels like . . . Oh, right.
The Jays roster remains the same as it was last weekend when the Yanks took two of three in Toronto, though there’s a chance that Orlando Hudson could return to action this weekend after sitting since September 7 due to an ankle injury. Considering the fact that all three of last weekend’s contests were decided by a single run, and that the Jays are coming off a split with the Mariners in which they outscored their opponent by a single run over the course of four games, the Jays could use any advantage that might tip the balance in their favor. Still, one hopes that the upgrade from struggling rookie Aaron Hill to a less mobile Hudson wouldn’t be enough to overcome the disadvantage the Jays face as a .459 road team coming in to face a team playing .654 ball at home that has handled them nicely thus far this season (Yanks own the series 10-5).
While the Yanks play three at home against the Jays followed by four on the road against the O’s, the second-place Red Sox (now trailing by a nice, round full game) do the exact opposite (three in Baltimore, then four at home against Toronto), so one would hope that neither of these teams is ready to roll over completely. Still, it sure would be nice to see the Yanks clean house on their final home stand of the year.
One item already in their favor is that Joe Torre has decided to go with Chien-Ming Wang on Sunday (as well he should) moving Aaron Small to the bullpen, which can use all the help it can get. With that, I’ve been able to project the pitching match-ups for the remainder of the season on the side bar.
Tonight, the Yanks send Shawn Chacon to the mound. Chacon has owned the Jays in two starts since joining the Yanks (total line: 15 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 0 HR, 5 BB, 7 K), and turned in a gem in Toronto last Saturday. The next day, Ted Lilly, who starts against Chacon tonight, turned in his first quality start since Bastille Day, handing the Yankees their only loss since September 10, but was lit-up by the Bombers in two starts at the beginning of the season. One hopes the Jays aren’t overly familiar with Chacon at this point and that he can continue his dominance of the remaining Canadian team. Meanwhile, here’s hoping the O’s take the never-say die spirit that gave us all fits over the past three days and perhaps some individual anger and stick it to the Sox.