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Series Preview: Home Sweet home?

Following their forgettable six-game road trip, the Blue Jays now own the 2nd-worst record since May 20, and now have to come home for a three-game series against the division-leading Yankees. As if this team hasn’t been beaten up enough lately, they now have to begin a series against one of the best-teams in the league. Despite not having their best-players, the Yankees have gotten significant contributions from players you might not expect.

DJ LeMahieu is currently hitting an impressive .458 AVG along with 25 RBI with RISP. Gary Sanchez is also quietly leading the AL in home runs with 18, in just 40 games. It took young-phenom Alex Bregman 59 games to hit 17 home runs. Which shows just how special Sanchez has been for the Yankees so far this season. So with the Blue Jays current losing streak at six-games, this team is in serious danger of falling below the “Trash Birds” for last-place in the division following this series.

Tuesday at 7:07 ET

Most of these players on the Yankees weren’t even in their organization the last-time Clayton Richard faced-off against them. September 2008 during his rookie season, was when Richard last played against the Bronx Bombers. Now over ten years later, the 35-year-old will now look to put a stop to his team’s current losing streak.

These last two-starts for Richard have basically been like his spring training. He has yet to pitch beyond the 4th-inning through his first pair of starts. Last time out against the Rays, Richard was ineffective with the command of his pitches through his four innings pitched. Richard threw just 49 of his 81 pitches for strikes. Which should be an area of focus for Richard coming into this start against the Yankees. As he will need to pitch deeper than the 4th-inning in this game, since the Blue Jays’ bullpen has been overused in their last two-series.

Masahiro Tanaka has been excellent for the Yankees this season, especially in five of his six starts this past month. The 30-year-old has pitched six-innings or more and recorded five or more strikeouts in five of those six starts. Tanaka has also only surrendered just two runs or fewer in four of his six starts this past month.

The Blue Jays were tied for the fewest-amount of runs scored through the month of May. Which means this lineup will likely have a very tough time scoring runs off of Tanaka. So it might be a better idea for Blue Jays fans to tune into the MLB draft, rather than getting frustrated over seeing this lineup struggle once again.

Wednesday at 7:07 ET

Trent Thornton’s roller-coaster season continued following his latest-start against the Rays. Thornton threw 97 pitches in just 4.2 innings and gave up seven hits, three runs as well as three walks. Canada’s Wonderland may even consider naming their next ride after Thornton.

This is now the 5th-time through his twelve starts this season that Thornton has pitched more than 90 pitches but has failed to pitch more than five innings. Failing to pitch deep into games has been a major problem for the Blue Jays’ pitching staff, aside from Stro-Show. However, Thornton has been able to pitch into the 6th-inning in two of his last three starts. Which is an encouraging sign coming into this start, despite his rough outing in his latest-start.

James Paxton made history last time he pitched in his home-county. The British Columbia-native pitched a no-hitter against the Blue Jays last season. This time around I don’t think it would shock anyone if Paxton had similar results against the Blue Jays.

The former 1st-round selection by the Blue Jays back in 2009, was unhittable in his first-start off of the injured list. Paxton allowed just a pair of walks, while striking-out seven batters through just four innings of work. The Blue Jays recorded the fewest-amount of hits through the month of May. Which is very alarming heading into this start against Paxton. As he has held opposing teams to three hits or fewer in four of his eight games this season.

Thursday at 7:07 ET

Edwin Jackson is lucky he didn’t have to go to the ER following the beating he took from the Rockies in his last start. Jackson lasted just 2.1 innings after he gave up a horrifying ten hits and ten runs along with a trio of walks. On the positive-side, at least Jackson was able to set down four batters on strikes before getting chased from the game.

The Blue Jays are once again forced to send out Jackson for another start because of the lack of quality pitchers at triple-A. Jackson is now pitching with a unacceptable 13.22 ERA and a 2.204 WHIP. Unfortunately, Jackson will likely get lit-up for the 4th-start in a row, since he’s still unable to keep his pitches out of the middle of the plate.

J.A. Happ will be making his 2nd-start against the Blue Jays since he was traded last season to the Yankees. While Happ has been very effective over his last two starts, home runs have still been an issue for the 36-year-old. Happ has given up the 4th-most home runs by any pitcher in the AL this season.

What’s also concerning for Happ is that he’s surrendered at least one home run in ten of his twelve starts this season. So while he’s created 15 strikeouts over his last two starts, hopefully the Blue Jays will be able to continue Happ’s streak of giving up a home run in four-straight games.