Yankees-Blue Jays Preview
Already eliminated from the AL East race, the New York Yankees now must find a way to get back on track if they are to remain a serious wild-card contender.
The visiting Yankees look to regroup from being swept by their archrival while Andy Pettitte, unbeaten in six weeks, tries to continue his season success against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night.
New York (79-71) scored 18 runs while winning three straight at Baltimore last week before being outscored 22-7 during a three-game sweep at East-leading Boston over the weekend. Five of the Yankees' 16 hits in the set came during Sunday's 9-2 loss that officially eliminated them from division contention.
The Yankees are in the mix for one of the AL's wild-card spots but have five teams ahead of them in that race.
"I don't stop believing," manager Joe Girardi said. "We still have a great opportunity. Sure, we have to win a lot of games, but the opportunity's right in front of us."
New York won 10 straight against the Blue Jays (68-81) - all at home - before dropping two of three at Toronto late last month.
Pettitte (10-9, 4.04 ERA) earned the Yankees' only win, allowing five hits in seven scoreless innings of a 7-1 victory Aug. 27. The left-hander is 3-0 with a 1.77 ERA against the Blue Jays this season.
That game in Toronto was Pettitte's third straight win, but he hasn't received a decision in three outings since then while posting a 3.93 ERA. Pettitte, though, has had six straight quality starts and hasn't lost since Aug. 5 against the White Sox.
"It's just battle; figure out a way," he told the Yankees' official website. "We've been doing it all year.
"We're going to continue to do it. We're going to continue to push through this and no matter how you lose a game here or there, it's not over until we're eliminated, as far as I'm concerned."
Robinson Cano had four hits in Friday's 8-4 loss at Fenway Park, then went 0 for 8 in the next two. He hasn't gone hitless in three straight games all season and is batting .351 with 15 RBIs in 15 matchups with the Blue Jays this year, but he's 2 for 10 against scheduled starter R.A. Dickey (12-12, 4.36) in 2013.
The knuckleballer has lost two of three starts against the Yankees this season despite holding them to a .208 average and posting a 3.38 ERA. The lone win came the last time he faced them Aug. 26, allowing a homer to Alex Rodriguez and one other run over 6 1-3 innings of a 5-2 victory.
That outing began a four-start stretch in which Dickey has gone 3-0 with a 3.46 ERA, but his worst performance in that span came Wednesday. He gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.
Dickey did surpass the 200-innings mark for a third consecutive season.
"In the AL East you probably won't find five or six guys who are able to top 200 innings," the right-hander said. "But it's only a silver lining for a year that for the most part has been a struggle."
Adam Lind homered Sunday, but Toronto stranded 11 men and went 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position while falling for the fifth time in six games, 3-1 to Baltimore.
Lind went 4 for 9 with two home runs in the series, but he's 3 for 21 with eight strikeouts versus Pettitte.
Rajai Davis is 11 for 20 against Pettitte but hitless in his last 10 at-bats.