Blue Jays-Yankees Preview
Mark Buehrle had a close-up view of Masahiro Tanaka taking over the major league lead in victories.
Now the veteran can move back into a tie in that department if he can end a personal eight-game losing streak against the New York Yankees.
Buehrle will try to help the first-place Toronto Blue Jays end a 14-game slide in the Bronx in the middle game of this series Wednesday night.
Tanaka struck out 10 over six innings to become baseball’s first 11-game winner Tuesday in a 3-1 victory that pulled New York (36-33) within 3 1/2 games of Toronto.
Buehrle (10-3, 2.28 ERA) can pull even with the Japanese star if he avoids a third straight loss after his 10-1 start. He gave up four runs over 6 1-3 innings Thursday in a 4-2 defeat in Baltimore, surrendering a homer for the second consecutive start after allowing two through his first 12.
The left-hander will be up against the club that has given him the most trouble in his 15-year career. He is 1-10 in 16 starts against New York with a 6.02 ERA – his worst against any opponent.
Buehrle’s teams have lost all of those games other than his win in 2004, and he went 0-2 with a 5.04 ERA in four starts against them last year in his first season with the Blue Jays. He’s 0-4 with a 5.55 ERA in six outings in the current Yankee Stadium.
Brett Gardner went 4 for 12 off Buehrle last year and Ichiro Suzuki was 3 for 9. Suzuki, a .393 hitter versus left-handers, has been his nemesis for years as a career .421 hitter against Buehrle.
Gardner hit a two-run homer Tuesday as New York handed Toronto its seventh loss in 10 games.
The only offense the Blue Jays (41-31) mustered was Jose Reyes’ homer on Tanaka’s first pitch. Reyes has three career homers in 11 games at the current Yankee Stadium.
"Reyes is familiar with this ballpark," New York manager Joe Girardi said. "He went to the short part of the park."
Reyes and the Blue Jays aren’t familiar with Yankees rookie Chase Whitley (2-0, 2.41), who seeks to capture his third straight start and win for the first time at home. Whitley, a right-hander who has never faced Toronto, allowed two runs over 7 2-3 innings Thursday in a 6-3 victory at Seattle.
The Blue Jays have dropped 23 of 25 in the Bronx and haven’t won there since Aug. 29, 2012. This is their longest road losing streak in the 37-year history of this series.
Toronto is last in the AL in runs (21) and batting average (.218) since June 7 after finishing with six hits Tuesday.
"It was a close game, we were in that thing, we just couldn’t mount any offense whatsoever," manager John Gibbons told the Blue Jays’ official website.
Colby Rasmus has been activated off the disabled list and may see his first action since May 12. Rasmus, however, is a .222 hitter who bats .157 in his career versus the Yankees.
Toronto left fielder Melky Cabrera is hitting .324 during a 17-game hitting streak against New York, the club with which he spent his first five seasons.
Yankees catcher Francisco Cervelli was activated off the 60-day disabled list Tuesday and could play for the first time since April 13 after being out with a strained hamstring.