With a chance to make a statement against the best team in baseball, the Toronto Blue Jays suffered a difficult series loss. It won’t be easy to bounce back this weekend with the reigning World Series champions in town.
The Blue Jays will try to end the New York Yankees’ five-game win streak Friday night when the AL East rivals meet for the first time in 2010.
Toronto (31-24) was looking to use this week to demonstrate that it can contend in the powerful division. The Blue Jays beat major league-leading Tampa Bay on Monday in the opener of a three-game set before blowing ninth-inning leads in two tough losses.
“Somewhere there we’re going to get three outs in the ninth inning,” manager Cito Gaston said after Wednesday’s 7-3 setback. “Someday. Somewhere.”
The Blue Jays will to try to get back on track against the Yankees (34-20), who went 12-6 in the season series last year. These clubs have played a total of 40 division games this year, but none against each other.
“These have happened in the past, but it is kind of weird,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi told MLB.com. “You would think you’d see every team in your division the first month of the season - somewhere in the first month, somewhere in the middle, and somewhere in the last month.”
Yankees starters are 5-0 with a 1.75 ERA during this win streak, and A.J. Burnett(notes) (6-2, 3.28 ERA) will be back at Rogers Centre for the second time since he left Toronto as a free agent for New York.
Burnett allowed five runs over 7 2-3 innings in a 5-1 loss May 12, 2009, at Toronto as a big crowd showered him with boos.
“It was what I expected,” Burnett said. “Any time you opt out of a contract like that and go somewhere else, you’re going to get that.”
The right-hander also went 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA in two home starts against the Blue Jays last year. Burnett has won his last two outings, allowing three runs over eight innings Sunday in a 7-3 win over Cleveland.
The Yankees won 6-3 over Baltimore on Thursday to finish a three-game sweep.
“We’ve won three series in a row, and we want to try to continue to do that.” Girardi said.
The left-hander should be tested Friday after going 0-1 with an 11.25 ERA in two starts against the Yankees as a rookie last year. Cano went 4 for 5 with a homer, and Derek Jeter(notes) and Jorge Posada(notes) were both 3 for 5.