Blue Jays-Yankees Preview

While Jose Bautista’s power this season isn’t a surprise, Curtis
Granderson’s may be.

Baseball’s top home run hitters meet Monday night when Bautista
and the Toronto Blue Jays open a three-game road series against
Granderson’s New York Yankees.

Bautista has followed his major league-leading 54-homer campaign
from 2010 with 18 this year to lead all players. The Yankees
(25-20) know all about how he can impact a game since he has eight
homers against them since the start of last season.

Granderson is two homers behind Bautista – no other AL player
besides those two has more than 12. The Yankees center fielder is
on pace to shatter his career-high total of 30 set two seasons ago
with Detroit.

New York is 3-2 against Toronto (23-23) this season, with
Granderson going 8 for 21 with three homers and seven RBIs while
Bautista has hit .313 with two home runs.

Both players went deep twice over the weekend. The Blue Jays
lost two of three to Houston after a 3-2 loss Sunday while the
Yankees posted a 9-3 win over the Mets to take two of three.

New York used an eight-run rally in the seventh inning to win
the first edition of the Subway Series this year. Derek Jeter
delivered a two-run game-tying single in the inning for his second
hit of the game, leaving him 25 shy of 3,000.

“Sometimes things are contagious,” Jeter said, “and it seems
like it was that inning.”

The Yankees captain is 2 for 21 against Toronto this year.

Alex Rodriguez had four hits and is 13 for 27 over his last six
games. The third baseman’s .149 average against the Blue Jays since
the start of 2010 is his lowest against any opponent.

Toronto is seeking to win five straight on the road for the
first time since May 3-7, 2010.

The Blue Jays will have reliever Jon Rauch available again after
he allowed three runs over 1 1-3 innings in appearances Friday and
Saturday, and was rested Sunday. Infielder John McDonald is
scheduled to rejoin the team after missing the last two games for
personal reasons.

The Yankees will start Bartolo Colon (2-2, 3.16 ERA), who joined
the rotation April 20 by allowing two runs over 6 2-3 innings to
earn a 6-2 victory at Toronto. That was his first start since July
24, 2009.

The veteran right-hander is coming off his best outing of the
year, throwing eight scoreless innings of three-hit ball Wednesday
before Mariano Rivera blew a save in a 4-1, 15-inning victory at
Baltimore.

Bautista has a single in five career at-bats against Colon.

Toronto’s Carlos Villanueva (1-0, 1.48) will make his first
start since Aug. 17, 2009. He’s replacing Jesse Litsch, placed on
the 15-day disabled list Friday due to a right shoulder
impingement.

Villanueva went 6-12 with a 4.81 ERA in 27 career starts with
Milwaukee, the team with which he spent his first five seasons
before joining Toronto this year. Manager John Farrell indicated
the right-hander will be on a pitch count.

“I think every pitcher that has done both (relief and starting
roles) would rather start,” Farrell told the Blue Jays’ official
website. “He’s looking forward to the opportunity.”

Villanueva has thrown two scoreless innings of relief against
New York this year. Granderson has a double in five at-bats against
him.