The New York Yankees have a decided edge over the Toronto Blue Jays in this matchup for second place in the AL East.
The Yankees have captured 16 straight home meetings against the Blue Jays and haven’t lost to Toronto starter Mark Buehrle in over 10 years heading into Friday night’s opener of a three-game series.
These teams are in a virtual tie for second behind Baltimore, and New York has plenty of advantages to start this series on a winning note.
A victory would give the Yankees (53-48) the fourth-longest home win streak by one team over another since divisional play began in 1969. The longest such run is Milwaukee’s 22-game streak over Pittsburgh from May 4, 2007-April 26, 2010.
New York is seemingly facing the right pitcher. Buehrle is 1-11 with a 5.81 ERA in 18 starts against the Yankees.
That record matches Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo’s regular-season mark against St. Louis as the worst among active pitchers against one team. It ties the sixth-worst record against the Yankees since 1914 for pitchers with at least 10 decisions.
Buehrle is 0-9 with a 6.93 ERA in 14 outings against New York since winning April 10, 2004, in the old Yankee Stadium. He’s 0-1 with a 4.26 ERA in two matchups this year and his teams have lost all seven outings he has pitched at the current Yankee Stadium, with the left-hander going 0-5 with a 5.18 ERA.
Ichiro Suzuki is a .421 hitter off Buehrle (10-6, 2.86) and Brett Gardner is 11 for 24 – 4 for 7 this year.
Buehrle was the majors’ first 10-game winner during a 10-1 start before he went 0-5 with a 4.06 ERA in his last eight outings. He gave up five runs over six innings Sunday in a 9-6 win over Texas.
"It’s too bad he hasn’t had a win in so long," manager John Gibbons said. "He’s definitely pitched well enough to have a few more under his belt. There’s no justice in this business."
Making matters worse for the Blue Jays (54-49) is that New York’s Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 3.88) is 3-0 with a 1.29 ERA in three career home starts against them, including two wins over Buehrle.
The right-hander’s major nemesis figures to be Jose Reyes, who’s 11 for 23 against him and is hitting .396 over his last 12 games.
Both teams have played well since the All-Star break. New York has won six of seven and Toronto five of seven with both on three-game win streaks entering Friday.
"Hopefully it just continues to give us confidence and we build on it and we keep playing extremely well because it’s important because the teams in our division are all playing well right now and we need to keep that up," manager Joe Girardi said.
Gardner is hitting .387 in the season series and Jacoby Ellsbury .385 for the Yankees, winners of six of nine over Toronto.
Former Yankees outfielder Melky Cabrera is 12 for 23 in his last six games for Toronto, which could be close to activating injured sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind.
The Blue Jays are 3-13 on the road since June 17 for baseball’s third-worst mark.