Toronto (51-48) at New York (61-36)

Partly Cloudy Currently: New York, NY
Temp: 58° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Mon Jul 21, 2003
  • TV: RSN, YES
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jeff Weaver finally appears to have found the form the New York Yankees have been waiting more than a season for.

The right-hander bids for his second straight win when the AL East-leading Yankees open a two-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.

Weaver, who has struggled with his consistency all season while clinging to the fifth spot in New York’s heralded rotation, is 2-1 over his last three starts, including an impressive 6-2 win at Toronto on July 13.

Weaver allowed one run and four hits over eight strong innings, striking out seven without a walk.

“I’d like to think it was (my best start as a Yankee),” Weaver said. “I’m surprised I had as many strikeouts as I did. Toronto has a pretty good hitting club.”

Weaver is displaying the power, pitch placement and poise the Yankees expected when they dealt highly touted left-hander Ted Lilly for him in a three-way deal with Detroit and Oakland last summer.

His recent run of success came after a seven-start winless streak that saw him relegated to bullpen duty in early June, when Cuban right-hander Jose Contreras took his spot in the rotation. However, Contreras went down with a sore shoulder, giving Weaver yet another opportunity to earn his pinstripes.

“You can only run your head into the wall so many times before you try something different,” said Weaver.

“I love being here. I love the guys I’m playing with, and I want to be successful for them. If somebody else has the right formula for me to be successful, I’m all ears. I want to do whatever it takes to make the adjustment to win here. Hopefully, I’m leaning toward that way.”

The Yankees have won five in a row, and are coming off a four-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians. Jorge Posada belted a two-run homer in Sunday’s 7-4 win as New York remained four games in front of second-place Boston in the AL East.

The Blue Jays split their four-game series in Boston, dropping the final two games, including Sunday’s 9-4 setback.

After a strong May and June got them back into contention in the East, the Blue Jays have slipped 11 games behind the Yankees in the division race.

STANDINGS: Blue Jays - 3rd place, 11 GB, AL East. Yankees - 1st place, AL East.

BLUE JAYS PROBABLE STARTER: Mark Hendrickson (5-6, 5.55 ERA). Hendrickson will rejoin the Blue Jays after making a pair of minor league starts. The rookie left-hander is winless in his last four big league outings, surrendering 17 runs over 20 innings. Hendrickson was bombed for seven runs and 10 hits in only one inning in his first career start against the Yankees on April 2, taking the loss in a 9-7 setback.

YANKEES PROBABLE STARTER: Weaver (5-7, 5.20 ERA). Weaver is 3-3 with a 4.76 ERA in eight home starts this year. He is 5-7 with two complete games and a 5.08 ERA in 13 career starts against the Blue Jays.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Blue Jays - Carlos Delgado, .306 avg., 28 HRs, 98 RBIs and 78 runs; Bobby Kielty, 6 SBs. Yankees - Hideki Matsui, .301 avg.; Jason Giambi, 28 HRs and 79 RBIs; Alfonso Soriano, 78 runs and 25 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Yankees, 8-6.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Blue Jays - RHP Bob File threw a perfect inning in his first rehab start for Class-A Dunedin of the Florida State League. File is on the 60-Day DL because of offseason shoulder surgery. He will pitch again on Tuesday. … 1B Delgado is hitting .464 (13-for-28) with one homer and seven RBIs in his career against RHP Weaver. He drove in both runs against Weaver in Toronto on July 13. … LHP Hendrickson is 2-3 with a 3.76 ERA in nine road appearances this year. Yankees - RHP Mariano Rivera has recorded 18 saves in 19 opportunities this season. … The Yankees have won six in a row at home. … SS Derek Jeter is batting .472 (25-for-53) in July.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Blue Jays - 28-24 on the road; Yankees - 29-19 at home.

INJURIES: Blue Jays - INF Dave Berg (fatigue), 15-day DL; INF Josh Phelps (back), 15-day DL; RHP Cliff Politte (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Pete Walker (knee), 15-day DL; LHP Doug Creek (elbow), 60-day DL; RHP Bob File (shoulder), 60-day DL. Yankees - 1B-DH Nick Johnson (hand), 15-day DL; RHP Jose Contreras (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Karsay (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (elbow), 60-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

M. Hendrickson Bal vs. J. Weaver LAD
9-9 Record 7-9
5.51 ERA 5.99
76 K 93
40 BB 47
1.56 WHIP 1.62