Blue Jays-Yankees Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated August 26, 2012
The New York Yankees have won eight straight at home against the Toronto Blue Jays. There are more streaks in favor of the Yankees entering Monday night's opener of a three-game set, as the Blue Jays have dropped seven in a row overall and eight straight on the road with struggling starter Henderson Alvarez having lost his last four outings. New York (74-53) has outscored Toronto 48-20 with a 13-4 edge in homers during this run at home in the series. The Blue Jays (56-70) are losers of seven straight for the first time since a nine-game skid from May 19-27, 2009, and 14 games under .500 for the first time since Sept. 25, 2009. The Yankees are beginning a six-game homestand with a four-game AL East lead over second-place Tampa Bay. The Blue Jays were rained out Sunday at Baltimore, which is 4 1/2 games behind New York in third place. "Right now we feel good about where we are," New York right fielder Nick Swisher said. "Excited to get home and start a new homestand." Alvarez (7-11, 4.84 ERA) will try to end Toronto's skid as well as his own. He's 0-4 with a 7.29 ERA in four starts this month since beating Detroit on July 28. The right-hander has failed to record an out past the fifth inning three times in his skid, and surrendered career highs of eight runs and 12 hits in 4 1-3 innings of an 11-2 defeat to Texas on Aug. 19. Alvarez is 0-0 with a 5.25 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees, with Curtis Granderson 3 for 5 against him. Granderson hit his 200th career homer and Swisher capped a strong weekend with three hits in a 4-2 victory Sunday at Cleveland. Swisher went 7 for 11 as the Yankees took two of three, and he's hitting .378 over his last 19 games. Closer Rafael Soriano got the final four outs for his 33rd save. He appears to be OK after getting hit on the side of his right hand by a line drive. "It feels fine right now,'' Soriano said. The Yankees have taken five of eight from the Blue Jays in 2012. Major league hits leader Derek Jeter of New York and Toronto slugger Edwin Encarnacion are each 12 for 30 in the season series. Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista landed back on the disabled list after re-injuring his left wrist in Saturday's 8-2 loss to the Orioles. The same injury kept him sidelined for 5 1/2 weeks before he returned Friday. Adam Lind, originally not due back until a week later, will return to the lineup Monday for the first time since July 25 after being out with a back injury. "It's nice to have purpose and be back here in the big leagues trying to win as many games as we can and keep as many teams out of the playoffs as we can right now," Lind told the Blue Jays' official website. New York's David Phelps (3-4, 2.69) will start in place of Ivan Nova, placed on the 15-day DL Thursday. Phelps, who has never faced Toronto, will remain in the rotation after going 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in two starts this month filling in for an injured CC Sabathia.
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