The New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays will meet for the first time this season Monday night in the opener of a three-game series at Buffalo.
There are postseason implications, with the teams meeting 10 times in the next three weeks — seven games at the Blue Jays home-away-from home in Buffalo.
The Blue Jays (22-18) moved into second place, one game ahead of the Yankees (21-19), in the American League East after their 10-8 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. The Yankees lost 5-1 to the Baltimore Orioles.
The Tampa Bay Rays (28-13) lead the AL East by 5 1/2 games.
The Yankees will start left-hander Jordan Montgomery (2-2, 5.76 ERA) and the Blue Jays will start left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (3-1, 2.51).
After taking the finale in their five-game series at Boston, the Blue Jays are on a 15-7 roll.
The Yankees, who are without injured Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and James Paxton, dropped three of four in Baltimore and are in a 5-13 drought.
“I think we are frustrated and guys are pissed off,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after Sunday’s game. “It’s understandable, but we have to get through it. We get on a plane up to Buffalo and we have a big series starting (Monday), and we have to find a way to put a little more pressure offensively to get going here.”
Ryu will make his third career start against the Yankees. He is 0-2 with an 8.71 ERA in his two starts over 10 1/3 innings against them.
Montgomery had the shortest start of his career Wednesday against Tampa Bay, allowing four earned runs in two-thirds of inning.
In four games (three starts), Montgomery is 2-0 with a 2.33 ERA against Toronto.
The status for Blue Jays outfielder Teoscar Hernandez is in doubt because of soreness in the rib area. Hernandez, who leads Toronto with 14 homers, will have an MRI to determine the extent of the injury. He did not play Sunday.
“We’ve got 10 games coming up against the Yankees, and I think once the clock hit September, everybody kind of got the feeling that this is it, here we go,” said Blue Jays infielder Joe Panik, who went 2-for-3 with two walks and two RBIs Sunday.
“The last four weeks of the season, in my mind, that’s when it’s really the home stretch,” Panik added. “We know what’s at stake. We know where we are in the standings with (the Yankees). It’s going to be a matter of everybody sticking to their work and believing in themselves. We know we are a talented ballclub. It’s just a matter of not trying to be anything more than you are.”
The Yankees, meanwhile, will try to regain the success they had earlier in the season.
“Very disappointing not only in the way I have played, but as we have played as a team,” Yankees outfielder Brett Gardner said after going 0-for-4 Sunday. “It is something we have to pull out of. We have three weeks to the day. We have some baseball left and are still in position to make the playoffs and hopefully attain our goal, which is to be the last team standing. But the way we have played lately is not acceptable.”‘
–Field Level Media