Blue Jays-Yankees Preview


If the Toronto Blue Jays plan to turn around their disappointing season, they may want to figure out how to beat the New York Yankees.

New York seeks an eighth victory in nine meetings this season and sixth straight at Yankee Stadium over the Blue Jays, who get starter Brandon Morrow back Saturday afternoon.

Toronto (17-25) appeared to be gaining momentum after a dreadful start, outscoring opponents 36-15 during a four-game winning streak heading into Friday's series opener.

After scoring in double digits the previous three contests, the Blue Jays mustered only four hits - two each from Melky Cabrera and Edwin Encarnacion - in a 5-0 defeat.

Last-place Toronto, nine games behind the AL East-leading Yankees, has lost five straight to New York, all in the Bronx.

The Blue Jays will look to get back on track with help from Morrow (1-2, 4.69 ERA), who has been dealing with back and neck soreness and hasn't pitched since giving up two runs and striking out eight in eight innings of a 10-2 win over Seattle on May 5.

He was slated to start Tuesday against San Francisco, but the team decided to push him back again.

"It was not my decision to do that. They are being extra cautious," Morrow told the team's official website. "(I'll) take the extra couple of days (rest)."

The right-hander had gone 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA in his previous four starts versus the Yankees before allowing seven runs - five earned - in 5 1-3 innings of a 9-4 loss April 19.

Lyle Overbay, who had some of the best seasons of his career with Toronto from 2006-10, homered off Morrow in that contest and has hit safely in six of the seven games he's played against his former team this season.

Vernon Wells, another former long-time Blue Jay, hit .440 with three homers in the first six meetings of 2013 but is 0 for 4 in each of the last two.

Brett Gardner, David Adams and Austin Romine each had two hits Friday for the Yankees (26-16), who bounced back after dropping the final two of a three-game set with Seattle.

New York will look to provide some more run support for David Phelps, who will be making his third career start against Toronto.

Phelps (1-2, 4.33) has a 3.44 ERA in three starts this season after suffering a tough-luck 1-0 loss to Cleveland on Monday, going 6 2-3 innings and allowing the game's only run on a solo homer in the first.

The right-hander received only two runs of support in six innings of his previous start, which the Yankees won 3-2 over Colorado on May 8.

"(Run support) hasn't been a problem," Phelps said. "We've got a great group of guys in there - guys who have done it and guys who have had great careers. There are going to be games they pick us up and there are going to be games we pick them up.''

Phelps is 1-0 with a 4.57 ERA in two starts and three relief appearances versus the Blue Jays. He gave up one run in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-1 win in his last start against them Sept. 19, but he's allowed four runs and walked four in seven innings over two relief outings versus Toronto this season.