Yankees look to contain Blue Jays again

Larry Millson, The Sports Xchange
Aaron Boone speaks at a press conference after the New York Yankees Introduce their new manager on December 6 at Yankee Stadium in New York City on December 6, 2017. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Aaron Boone speaks at a press conference after the New York Yankees Introduce their new manager on December 6 at Yankee Stadium in New York City on December 6, 2017. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

The New York Yankees are showing that they are about more than hitting home runs and offense.

In winning their first two games of the season, the Yankees have shut down the Toronto Blue Jays allowing a total of seven hits and three runs.


The Yankees won the second game of the four-game series 4-2 on Friday night and on Saturday afternoon they will send out left-hander CC Sabathia against Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada.

Luis Severino held the Blue Jays to one hit and did not give up a run with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings on Opening Day in the Yankees' 6-1 victory

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Masahiro Tanaka struck out eight and walked one while allowing three hits and a run on Friday.

"I thought it was a quality effort by a mature pitcher," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said after Tanaka retired the final 13 hitters he faced.

The Yankee will have another mature pitcher going in the third game of the series.

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Sabathia will be starting on five days rest when he faces the Blue Jays on Saturday. The 37-year-old made two official spring training starts, going 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA.

His final spring training was in a minor-league game on March 25 when he allowed three hits, three runs and one walk while striking out seven in six innings.

In 31 career starts against the Blue Jays, he is 17-11 with a 3.63 ERA. As a Yankee, he is 10-8 with a 3.72 ERA in 21 starts. Last season, he was 2-2 with a 6.23 ERA against Toronto.

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He is 8-4 with a 3.11 ERA in 14 starts at the Rogers Centre, his third lowest career ERA in any park. Miller Park (2.11 ERA in 13 starts) and Safeco Field (2.08 in 14 starts) are the parks in which he has a lower ERA.

Estrada was 3-1 with a 4.60 ERA in 2017 in five starts against the Yankees. He is 12-5 with a 4.26 ERA in 25 career outings (24 starts) against them.

The Yankees put center fielder Aaron Hicks on the 10-day disabled list before the game Friday with an intercostal muscle strain and called up outfielder Billy McKinney from Triple-A to take his place. Brett Gardner moved from his customary left field to play center field Friday with McKinney playing left. McKinney singled in his first major league at-bat in the second inning Friday.


Gardner will see most of the action, but Aaron Judge could move over from right field to spell him on occasion.

"I just don't want to run (Gardner) into the ground, don't want to wear him out," Boone said. "We're in a situation of need right now, but we still have to look at it through that lens and have to protect him, especially starting with four days on the (artificial) turf (at the Rogers Centre) and going home for a day game (on Monday). We've got to think big picture on this, so I would say (Judge) is a possibility."

Judge has played only right field in the majors.

"In college I played center and left," Judge said. "It wasn't until pro ball that I started playing right. I'm familiar with it all."

Giancarlo Stanton, who was used as designated hitter in the first two games of the series in Toronto, could play the corner outfield positions for the final two games.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jays' offense is off to a sputtering start.

It does not help that one of their top hitters in spring training, outfielder Teoscar Hernandez, is starting the season with Triple-A Buffalo.


Third baseman Josh Donaldson, who had trouble with his throws Thursday in the opener because of what is being termed a "dead arm" was used as the designated hitter Friday. He is 0-for-7 with a walk.

"He's going to hit," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Donaldson will be used in the DH role until his arm improves. He had some shoulder problems during spring training.

With Donaldson at DH, Kendrys Morales was restricted to an unsuccessful appearance as a pinch hitter.

Curtis Granderson started the first two games of the series in left field for the Blue Jays. Right-handed hitting Steve Pearce is expected to get the start Saturday against Sabathia.

Pearce doubled as a pinch-hitter Friday against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman.

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