The New York Yankees turned in an impressive offensive display in their most recent game, but it could be difficult to maintain that hot hitting in Toronto.
The Yankees hope to solve the stingy Blue Jays pitching staff, starting Tuesday when they open a three-game set by trying to prevent A.J. Burnett from winning his sixth consecutive start.
New York (66-58) headed into its matchup against Kansas City on Sunday having been limited to eight runs in its previous three games, but turned things around by pounding out 17 hits - including four homers - in a 15-6 victory.
“We have our backs up against the wall and every game is very important,” said Rodriguez, who has gone 11-for-33 with four homers and 10 RBIs over his last nine games.
The Yankees will be trying to build some momentum against a Blue Jays starting staff which has compiled a 1.85 ERA over its last six games. Toronto has won five of those contests.
Burnett is 3-0 with a 1.23 ERA in his last four starts versus the Yankees, including wins in both of his games against them this season as he allowed three runs in 14 1-3 innings.
New York has been held to three runs or less in six of nine meetings with the Blue Jays (64-60) this season. After facing Burnett and rookie David Purcey — Wednesday’s scheduled starter who threw six scoreless innings at Detroit in his last outing—the Yankees close the series against Toronto ace Roy Halladay, who is among the league leaders in wins and ERA.
“We all know how good their pitching staff is and how they’ve been playing us, so it’s going to be a challenge,” shortstop Derek Jeter told the Yankees’ official Web site.
Burnett (15-9, 4.67 ERA) is 9-2 with a 3.73 ERA over his last 11 outings, winning his last five to post his best win streak since reeling off a career-best seven in a row from July 19-Aug. 19, 2005 while with Florida.
The right-hander has won a career-high seven straight home starts, posting a 2.89 ERA, since losing to Baltimore on June 7 at Rogers Centre.
Burnett, however, has given up four runs in three consecutive outings. He allowed three homers and eight hits overall in six innings of a 6-4 victory at Detroit last Tuesday.
He takes the mound on six days’ rest for the second time this year after the Blue Jays’ rain-shortened, two-game weekend sweep of Boston. Like New York, Toronto had a strong offensive showing Sunday, totaling a season high-tying 22 hits in a 15-4 victory to complete a 5-1 road trip.
Alex Rios had a career high-tying five hits and matched a club record with four doubles, while Adam Lind homered and had four RBIs for the Blue Jays, who now open a six-game homestand versus division foes.
“You make a statement,” manager Cito Gaston told the Blue Jays’ official Web site, “but you certainly have to come back the next day and continue to do that.”
Toronto will try to do so against struggling Yankees starter Darrell Rasner (5-9, 5.18), who is 1-5 with a 6.80 ERA in his last nine games. The right-hander had one of his better outings during that span on Wednesday as he gave up three runs—two earned—and four hits over five innings in a 4-2 loss at Minnesota.
Rasner has won both of his career starts versus the Blue Jays. The most recent of those victories came on July 12, when he allowed four runs—three earned—and seven hits while striking out six over five innings in a 9-4 win at Toronto.