Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Yankees hit road, get warm in...Toronto?

The New York Yankees were not treated nicely by the schedule makers to begin the season. They’ve had to play in some miserable conditions and faced a couple of tough competitors each with legitimate playoff aspirations. The only thing that changes as the Yankees meet the Toronto Blue Jays for three games beginning Tuesday is the weather — or rather the implications of weather — which does not pose a factor under the Rogers Centre roof.

The Yankees begin the series with a 3-2 record which has been highlighted by some struggling starting pitching, offset by impressive offensive production throughout the lineup. Only one Yankees starter has completed at least six innings of work in a start (CC Sabathia) but the club is hitting a collective .292 which ranks second in MLB.

As the Yankees begin the second time through the rotation they hope that each hurler can begin to work deeper into games, something that is extremely important to the inner workings of the bullpen. This is especially true with the relief crew essentially down one pitcher in Aroldis Chapman, forcing the Yankees to utilize Chasen Shreve, Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller a bit more often than they might hope. Length from the rotation was an issue in 2015, and is something that has to change for 2016.

The Blue Jays enter the series with a 3-4 record and Sunday’s 3-0 shutout of the Boston Red Sox put an end to a four-game losing streak. The Blue Jays’ powerful offense has scored five or more runs just twice thus far this season, suggesting that a breakout could be on the way. The Yankees will have to navigate the Blue Jays’ lineup with Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi on the hill. The Yankees will face Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ and Marcus Stroman respectively.

The Yankees want some revenge for losing the division last season (and a 6-13 record versus Toronto), while the Blue Jays are out to prove they're not a one-year wonder. The first series of the season between the AL East foes should entertain.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for His baseball commentary has also been published on The Cauldron via Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.