Toronto dominated the Eastern division of the American League for months in a row, but they suffered a complete meltdown that allowed Baltimore to overtake them. They are still within striking distance and have won three consecutive games in a row, but in order to close the gap they need to win against the New York Yankees. Their opponents were just as successful of late, also winning three consecutive games and tonight they will also have home pitch advantage.
This sounds like a great deal, but numbers indicate something else, because the New York Yankees have won more games on the road. It came as no surprise that they managed to sweep Texas, which would normally be a huge accomplishment. The problem is that the Rangers have sinked into near irrelevance and despite their otherwise potent lineup are unable to win back-to-back games. At the time of writing they have the worst record in baseball and it is most unlikely for this to change anytime soon.
This series is of great interest to those teams involved, because the winner will not only collect three valuable points, but also strike a significant blow to a direct rival. Toronto desperately needs to return to its winning ways and build on a couple of successful games, to make players and fans forget about the recent slump. Things are clearly heading into the right direction, with the Blue Jays winning the final match of the series against Boston in convincing manner. More about the lopsided win can be read here: http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2014_07_24_bosmlb_tormlb_1&mode=recap_home&c_id=tor.
The prospect of sweeping both Boston and New York Yankees in a single week is definitely going to bolster their morale, but the Blue Jays need to play perfect baseball to achieve that. Starting pitchers were stellar in the last matches, but the Red Sox missed a couple of inspirational sluggers, which greatly affected their offensive prowess. By comparison, the Yankees are pretty confident when it comes to scoring runs and they have a handful of skilled starting pitchers of their own.
Hiroki Kuroda only won half of the 12 decisions, but he has been absolutely dominant against Toronto, winning all three games so far and posting a 1.29 ERA. He will take the mound tonight and usually lasts for at least six innings, the visitors will have a hard time offsetting the handicap. It is always possible to take advantage of less than reliable relievers, but the bullpen exceeded expectations in the recent series played against the Texas Rangers.
The visitors will be countering with Buehrle who is seeking his first victory in 10 games against the New York Yankees, having lost the previous nine ones. He allowed more than six runs per match on average and despite their best efforts, offensive players couldn’t save him from recording a negative decision. If he doesn’t snap the string of subpar performances against the Yankees, the Blue Jays are bound to end their winning streak and allow the New Yorkers to overtake them.