Yankees vs Blue Jays

Yankees vs Blue Jays – 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Written by on September 23, 2020

The New York Yankees have clinched a playoff spot and it’s possible the Toronto Blue Jays could too with a win when the teams meet in their season series finale on Thursday from the Jays’ temporary home in Buffalo.

How to Bet Yankees at Blue Jays MLB Odds & TV Info

  • When: Thursday, 6:37 PM ET
  • Where: Sahlen Field, Buffalo
  • Probable pitchers (away/home): JA Happ/Robbie Ray
  • TV: MLB Extra Innings
  • Stream/gameday audio: https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/
  • Opening MLB Lines: TBA
Why Bet on NY Yankees? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said this week that Domingo German will not pitch for the club in the postseason. German, who was arguably New York’s top pitcher in the 2019 season, was ineligible to participate in the 2020 regular season due to a domestic violence suspension, and Boone told reporters that there’s not enough time for him to be built up into a contributor for October.

For the playoffs, GM Brian Cashman need to come up with the usual active roster (28 players this year), but he also has to select 12 players from the team’s taxi squad of players (currently 29) who will stay behind at the Yankees alternate-training site in Scranton, Pennsylvania. According to Cashman, several of the players at the alternate site have already opted out, although he did not name them.

The rotation in Bronx is shaky, and they’re going to be heading into the playoffs for the second straight season without a full, healthy starting pitching staff. The Yankees lost lefty James Paxton earlier this month after he suffered a setback in his rehab from a forearm strain.

Meanwhile, an appeal for closer Aroldis Chapman has been pushed back to next year due to an issue involving availability of witnesses. Chapman was handed his three-game suspension by Major League Baseball back on September 2 for throwing at Mike Brosseau of the Rays.

It’s scheduled to be lefty and former Blue Jays pitcher JA Happ on the mound here. It could be his last-ever start for team depending on what happens in the postseason.  Happ (2-2) recorded nine strikeouts over eight scoreless innings last Saturday in a win over the Red Sox.

Happ scattered four hits and didn’t issue a walk over eight innings. It was his most dominant performance of the condensed 2020 campaign by a considerable margin. He generated 19 swinging strikes and surrendered only five batted balls with an exit velocity over 95 mph.

“I had some life on the fastball, and the changeup has come around for me,” Happ said. “Lately, it’s been a big pitch. We played good defense, good positioning and were able to get some early outs, which helped me go deeper in the ballgame.”

The 37-year-old will carry a 3.30 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 39/13 K/BB ratio across 44 1/3 innings (eight starts) into his final regular-season outing.

Happ last faced the Jays on Sept. 8 and struck out 10 but he still took a loss after allowing two runs in 6 1/3 innings. That’s his only outing vs. Toronto in 2020.

Why Bet on Toronto? | 2020 MLB Expert Analysis

The Jays have placed reliever Julian Merryweather on the 10-day injured list with right elbow tendinitis. Merryweather is done for the remainder of the 2020 regular season and likely won’t be an option in the playoffs either. He had a 4.15 ERA and 15/6 K/BB ratio through 13 innings of work. Fellow reliever Jordan Romano could slide back into the Blue Jays’ bullpen for the final weekend. He’s been on the IL since August 29 with a right middle finger strain.

The Jays have two veteran catchers in Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire but may use 21-year-old Alejandro Kirk more the rest of the way because the two veterans are struggling so much. Kirk made his MLB debut earlier this month after never playing above High-A ball. Kirk hit the ground running and does not appear intimidated by the bright lights and pitching in the majors.

In Monday’s Blue Jays win over New York, Kirk went 4-for-4 and collected his first major league homer and double. He was the youngest catcher in 16 years with a four-hit game.  Entering the game Toronto catchers were hitting .142, with an OPS of .513. The team has eight sacrifice bunts on the year. Catchers have accounted for seven of them.

Meanwhile, young outfielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is having a rough second season, but his average exit velocity and hard-hit rate are each within the top-10 per cent of MLB hitters. He’s responsible for three of the 16 hardest-hit balls in play across baseball this season and only five players have hit a ball harder than him. He’s barreled 80 balls with an exit velocity north of 95 mph, the seventh-most in baseball.

It’s scheduled to be lefty Robbie Ray (2-5) on the mound Thursday. Ray struggled in last Friday’s loss to the Phillies, surrendering five runs on five hits over his 4 1/3 innings. He had six strikeouts but also issued four free passes. The Phillies pushed a run across in the opening inning on an RBI double by Didi Gregorius, then Ray managed to keep them at bay until the flood gates opened in the fifth.

There, he allowed a two-run homer to Bryce Harper and a pair of singles before turning the ball over to the bullpen. Ray has an ugly 7.17 ERA and 1.91 WHIP including his time with Arizona. He hasn’t faced the Yankees in 2020.

Ray will become a free agent after the season and isn’t helping himself.  A disastrous seven-start run with the D-backs (7.84 ERA) preceded a trade to Toronto, where he’s pitched to a 5.94 ERA in four outings (three starts). A bounce back in October could help Ray re-establish some value as he heads into the offseason.

Expert PredictionYankees 7, Blue Jays 5
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