Series Preview: Taking the good with the bad

Sometimes in life, you’re forced to take the good with the bad. The Blue Jays’ outfield was extremely bad in the finale against the Red Sox. On the bright side, the misplays in the outfield were committed by players who aren’t going to be key parts of this team going forward.

Coming into this series against the Yankees, the Blue Jays will be looking to improve from their mistakes that were made against the Red Sox. The Yankees come into this series as winners of seven of their last nine games and have recorded five runs or more through seven of those nine games as well.

Friday at 7:07 ET

Following his MLB-debut, Anthony Kay will be looking to pitch even better during his second start in the major leagues. During his debut against the Rays, Kay went five and 2/3 innings and held their lineup to just two runs on four hits and struck out eight batters as well.

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One area where the 24-year-old struggled was being able to consistently attack the strike zone. Kay threw just 58% of his pitches for strikes and also allowed three walks. With the Yankees’ lineup producing the 6th-most number of walks in the AL this season, Kay will need to do a much more effective job at locating his pitches within the strike zone during this game.

The Blue Jays’ hitters were nearly no-hit by Masahiro Tanaka in their meeting against the Japanese-born pitcher back on Aug. 11. During that game, Tanaka threw eight scoreless innings and allowed just three hits while also striking out four batters. However, Tanaka is coming off a rough outing in his latest start against the Red Sox.

For the first time since July 31, Tanaka threw fewer than five innings in a game. Tanaka was pulled from the game following the fourth inning after he surrendered a total of four runs on eight hits. The 30-year-old has also given up a home run in each of his last two outings, which is something that the Blue Jays’ hitters will need to capitalize on in this game.

Saturday at 3:07 ET

Jacob Waguespack’s struggles since the end of August continued through his latest start against the Rays. The 25-year-old surrendered a career-high six runs on seven hits through just four and 1/3 innings pitched. Waguespack also gave up a new career-high four extra-base hits during this outing as well.

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Coming into this game against the Yankees, Waguespack will have to find a way to locate his pitches in the lower half of the strike zone, as he gave up eleven fly balls in his start against the Rays. The Yankees tagged Waguespack for a pair of home runs during his outing against them back on Aug. 10. So, Waguespack will surely be looking to get some revenge against the Bronx Bombers in this game.

The Big Maple has undergone a major transformation since the beginning of August. Through his eight starts since Aug. 1, James Paxton has gone no fewer than five innings and hasn’t allowed more than four runs in any of those starts. In particular, the Canadian has been even more dominant since the start of September.

In two starts this month, Paxton hasn’t allowed a single run and has created a combined 19 strikeouts through his 13.2 innings pitched. During his outing against the Blue Jays back on June 26, Paxton was charged for six runs on eight hits. Although, his recent results suggest that the Blue Jays’ lineup could have a very tough time at the plate in this game against Paxton.

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Sunday at 1:07 ET

T.J. Zeuch’s first start at the Rogers Centre didn’t exactly turn out as good as he probably had hoped for. Although, his team was still able to grind out a victory against the Red Sox. During that game, Zeuch gave up three runs on six hits along with a home run. The 24-year-old was also limited to just a single strikeout in that start against the bums from Boston.

While it won’t get any easier for Zeuch now having to face off against the powerful Yankees’ lineup. This start will provide him with another opportunity to give some hope to Blue Jays fans about the status of their pitching rotation heading into next season. Zeuch relies on inducing weakly hit ground balls during his outings, which he’ll need to be able to apply against the Yankees in this game.

Last season, the Yankees announced that Jordan Montgomery would be undergoing Tommy John surgery on his left pitching arm. Throughout this season the 26-year-old has been fighting hard to make a return to the field before the conclusion of this season. While it’s not been confirmed as of yet, there’s a very good chance that Montgomery will be able to make his awaited return to the mound during this game against the Blue Jays.

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If Montgomery starts, then the Yankees will very likely have a pitch limit of around 30 to 50 pitches for him in his first start back in the majors since his surgery. Following Montgomery, the Yankees will likely send out either Nestor Cortes Jr. or Chad Green from the bullpen.