Yankees-Blue Jays Preview
The New York Yankees won't have their hottest hitter Wednesday night, although that may not be a break for Toronto Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.
The visiting Yankees have won their last four games with Brian McCann starting at catcher, but he'll be replaced in the lineup by Austin Romine.
McCann has hit safely in his five games, going 9 for 18. He has four straight multihit efforts with the Yankees (4-2) winning all of those contests after he went 2 for 3 with his second homer in Tuesday's 3-2 victory in the opener of this three-game series.
The problem is he was diagnosed with a bruised toe after being hit by the ball, and Romine replaced him late in the game. New York has lost the only game Romine – a career .198 hitter – has started.
“You're kind of anxious, wondering what is going on,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Is it just a bruised toe, bruised big toe or is it more than that? So hopefully we know here pretty quick.”
McCann was only 3 for 19 against Happ, who has given other Yankees issues as well. Chase Headley is 4 for 15 in this matchup, Jacoby Ellsbury is 3 for 13 and Alex Rodriguez 0 for 8.
Happ is 3-2 with a 4.85 ERA in nine starts against New York. The left-hander gave up two runs over six-plus innings before Tampa Bay scored three times in the eighth to pull out a 5-3 win last Wednesday.
The Yankees will counter with Michael Pineda, who will try to be more effective after he gave up six runs with three homers in five innings to get credit for last Wednesday's 16-6 rout of Houston.
The only other times Pineda has allowed three homers have been two starts versus Toronto. He went 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in three against the Blue Jays last season, with AL MVP Josh Donaldson going 0 for 10.
The right-hander has also stymied Jose Bautista, who is 3 for 19 in this matchup, and Kevin Pillar, who is 1 for 10.
“The Blue Jays are a pretty good team, everybody knows that,” Pineda told MLB's official website. “I like competing and love the game and will have fun.”
New York's bullpen lowered its major league-leading ERA to 0.84 on Tuesday after four relievers combined for four hitless innings.
“(Johnny) Barbato, (Chasen) Shreve, Dellin (Betances) and (Andrew) Miller, outstanding job tonight,” Girardi said. “It was neat to see Johnny Barbato get his first win, that's always fun too. Each one got us some big outs so I was impressed.”
Toronto (3-5) saw its bullpen fail to match New York when Brett Cecil gave up Ellsbury's go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning. Cecil has blown two saves and has a 10.13 ERA over four games.
''He's off right now,'' manager John Gibbons said. ''There's no secret about that.''
Bautista doubled in two runs for Toronto, which had three hits and fell to 0-3 in one-run games after going 15-28 a year ago for baseball's worst mark.