Monday night is the first of a three-game set from the Bronx as the Toronto Blue Jays take on the New York Yankees in an AL East battle. Both the Jays and the Yankees are coming off big weekend series victories against the Red Sox and the Astros, respectively. Unfortunately for the Jays, the series didn’t really matter, as they are already 20.5 games out of the division at 29-49 and 13.5 games out of the Wild Card.
Meanwhile, the Yankees are finally fully healthy (kind of) and are on an absolute tear, going 8-2 in their last 10 games and have pulled away in the East, 4.5 games above the Rays.
For the Jays, Aaron Sanchez will take the hill for his 17th start of the season. So far, Sanchez is 3-9 with a 5.49 ERA. Sanchez is on a streak of terrible pitching since pretty much April as he has taken the loss in eight of his last 11 starts. The last three games have been especially horrendous, as he’s gone a total of 12 2/3 innings while giving up 19 runs and striking out seven with nine walks.
The problem for Sanchez in 2019 is that his sinker is just falling completely flat. While the velocity is around the same, it has been terrible. According to Fangraphs, it’s not only his worst pitch (by a mile), but it’s terribly below league average. Fangraphs tracks pitch values with runs above average with 0.0 being average. His sinker is at -6.6.
For the Yankees, CC Sabathia will get the ball for his 13th start. Currently, Sabathia is 4-4 with a 4.14 ERA, another solid season for the big lefty. Sabathia has been good this season, but inside Yankee Stadium, he has been great. In six home starts this year, he is 3-1 with a 2.18 ERA with an opponent’s slash line of .207/.278/.355. The interesting thing about Sabathia is none of his pitches average over 90 miles per hour, and yet his Z-Swing% is at 70.3%.
Batters To Watch
There’s a lot of big names on the Yankees. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Edwin Encarnacion. But none of them are as important as the unsung team hero, DJ LeMahieu. LeMaheiu has been one of, if not the sole reason this team has been so good throughout the injuries in 2019. He’s batting .322 with 10 home runs and 51 runs batted in so far. He’s racked up 2.6 WAR already this season, the most in his career outside of his insane 2016 season. In just his last seven games, LeMahieu is batting .429 with three homers and 10 RBI.
For the Blue Jays, the obvious one to watch is Vlad Guerrero Jr. However, not enough people are talking about Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Maybe it’s because I had fantasy stock in him this year, but the high hopes for him took a major hit in April, and he was sent down to Triple-A. But since being called back up, he’s been an absolute machine. His batting average is up to .286 with a wRC+ of 134.
Sanchez has been terrible this year, and he has never been that good against the Yankees in his career. Sabathia is solid enough at home, and the Yankees’ offense is unmatched. Take New York.
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