USA TODAY Sports
Following Monday’s series-opening loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his club had to win the next two games to have any chance of claiming the American League East title. New York eked out a 6-4 victory Tuesday and looks to inch closer to the first-place Blue Jays in Wednesday’s rubber match in Toronto.
Rookie Greg Bird, playing every day after first baseman Mark Teixeira was lost for the season, has homered in three consecutive games and gone deep five times in the last seven contests. Bird has seven RBIs in the last three games after belting a tiebreaking three-run shot in the 10th inning Tuesday to draw the Yankees within 2 1/2 games of Toronto. Carlos Beltran has homered twice and knocked in seven runs in the last four contests for New York while Edwin Encarnacion has five blasts in the past 10 games for the Blue Jays. Toronto sends Marcus Stroman to the mound to oppose Ivan Nova in the series finale.
TV: 7:07 p.m. ET, ESPN, YES (New York), RSN (Toronto)
LINE HISTORY: The Jays opened -165 but are now in the -180 vicinity. The total opened at 9 and is down to 8.5.
INJURY REPORT: Yankees – 1B Mark Teixeira (Out for season, shin). Blue Jays – SS Troy Tulowitzki (Late September, shoulder).
WHAT CAPPERS SAY: “The Jays suffered a blow when Troy Tulowitzki collided with Kevin Pillar and broke his shoulder. Tulo is out for at least two weeks, but if they can wrap up the East without him – which they should – and then get their All-Star SS back for the playoffs, they should be even stronger going forward.” Covers Expert Big Al McMordie.
HOT FAN WAR:
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Ivan Nova (6-8, 5.11 ERA) vs. Blue Jays RH Marcus Stroman (2-0, 3.00)
Nova was removed from the starting rotation after he was battered by the Blue Jays for six runs in 1 2/3 innings on Sept. 12, but Masahiro Tanaka’s injury opened the door for him to make another start. Nova has permitted at least three runs in seven consecutive starts, which includes back-to-back outings against Toronto on Aug. 8 and 14. He split a pair of decisions against the Jays, winning at Toronto with seven innings of three-run ball.
Stroman will make his third start since returning from surgery on a torn ACL sustained during spring training. The former first-round draft pick won his season debut against the Yankees on Sept. 12, allowing three runs on four hits over five innings to improve to 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in four career starts against New York. Stroman was much sharper in his last turn against Boston, going seven innings and yielding one run on six hits.
* Yankees are 1-4 in Nova’s last five starts.
* Blue Jays are 6-1 in Stroman’s last seven home starts.
* Under is 5-1 in Nova’s last six road starts.
* Under is 8-1-2 in Stroman’s last 11 home starts.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Sixty-four percent of Covers users are backing the Jays.