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The New York Yankees are inching closer to a playoff berth and are staring at the bottom of the American League East the rest of the way. The Yankees, who lead the Baltimore Orioles by 1 1/2 games for first place in the division, begin a four-game series at the last-place Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday before finishing up with three at home against the rival Boston Red Sox.
The Blue Jays did New York a small favor this week by taking two of four at Baltimore, allowing for more distance in the division than there had been at any point in the previous three weeks. The Yankees took two of three at the Minnesota Twins and have won nine of their last 11 overall, including a three-game sweep of Toronto from Sept. 19-20. New York leads the majors in home runs and will be taking on a pitching staff that served up seven blasts in a 12-2 loss to the Orioles on Thursday. The Blue Jays’ staff has surrendered the most home runs in baseball and has been touched for an average of 6.3 runs over the last 10 games.
Yankees Blue Jays Betting
When: 7:07 PM ET, Thursday, September 27, 2012
Where: Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, YES (New York), RSN (Toronto)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Ivan Nova (12-7, 4.94 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Brandon Morrow (8-7, 3.28)
Nova could be fighting for a spot in the postseason rotation. The 25-year-old lasted only 2 1/3 innings against Oakland last Saturday, his second start since coming off the disabled list. Nova struck out 10 in 7 1/3 innings to win at Toronto on Aug. 11 and has fared well against the division rivals in his career. Posting a 3-1 record with a 3.45 ERA in six games – five starts.
Morrow has alternated good and bad starts since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 25 and is coming off one of the poor efforts – a loss at Tampa Bay in which he allowed five runs in four innings. The right-hander has not faced New York this season but has had some dominant efforts against it in the past, including eight scoreless innings in a win last September.
1. Yankees OF Brett Gardner (elbow) made his return as a defensive replacement on Wednesday. He took some swings in the indoor cage in Minnesota but is still days away from hitting in a game.
2. Toronto DH Edwin Encarnacion (42) has two homers in the last three games and has hit safely in eight straight. He is battling for the AL home run title, trailing Texas’ Josh Hamilton by one.
3. New York 1B Mark Teixeira (calf) has been working out at the team’s spring training site and could play in a simulated game soon. He has missed the past 15 games.