MLB Regular Season

Matchup: New York Yankees at Toronto Blue Jays

Date/Time: September 21, 7:07 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Adam Warren (6-6, 3.33) vs. David Price (16-5, 2.42)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Toronto -230

Total: 8.5

The New York Yankees head north of the border with a four-game lead in the AL Wild Card standings and a 2.5-game deficit in the AL East. The team that they are chasing is the Toronto Blue Jays and they will have their ace on the mound in Monday’s series opener. Toronto is an overwhelming favorite for this matchup with David Price on the mound against Adam Warren. Can the Yankees pull off a big upset to set the tone for this series? Or, will David Price once again prove why the Blue Jays went out and got him at the trade deadline?

It’s hard to believe that the Blue Jays had a losing record at the All-Star Break. They were 45-46 and 4.5 games behind the Yankees. The Blue Jays are 40-18 in the second half and have outscored opponents by 131 runs in that span. To say that Toronto has been dominant would be an understatement. Of those 40 wins, they have covered the run line in all but three of those games. Their last one-run win was August 25. The Yankees have been a lot less dominant and they are just two games over .500 since the start of August. A big series win on Sunday night over the New York Mets has set the stage for this big matchup at Rogers Centre, as the Yankees try to close the gap with just 13 days left in the MLB regular season, unless we need a 163rd game for two teams to decide the wild card or division.

The ball will be in Adam Warren’s hands for this series opener. Since the Yankees are trying to monitor innings for guys like Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda, Warren has been slotted back into the rotation. He was a starter from April 11 to June 25 before moving back into a setup role in the bullpen. Warren has been more than adequate as a starter this season with a 3.63 ERA over 15 starts. His starting numbers are not as good as his relief numbers, specifically from a strikeout standpoint, but his 4.05 FIP is passable given the offense support that the Yankees provide.

Normally, this would be a decent matchup for an average or above right-hander, but Warren shows some reverse platoon splits this season. Lefties are batting just .230/.288/.324, while righties are hitting .242/.311/.385. Eight of the 10 home runs Warren has allowed have been hit by righties. Unlike most guys relegated to the bullpen, Warren has three average or better pitches, so that’s why he has been able to survive as a starter. He mixes some cut and sink in with his fastball, along with a slider and a changeup that has produced good results. A show-me curveball is another pitch that serves a purpose. This number might be a tad inflated.

David Price has been everything that the Blue Jays could have hoped for. He’s 7-1 with a 2.17 ERA and a 2.17 FIP. His strikeout rate has increased with better pitch framers in Toronto and his home run rate has gone down. Over nine starts, Price has stranded 82.2 percent of runners with the help of an improved defense. Perhaps his familiarity with the AL East has come into play, or maybe he’s just in a better environment and a better situation. Whatever the case, he’s back to being dominant and he will be a good Game 1 or Wild Card Game starter for the Blue Jays.

Incredibly, this will be Price’s fourth start against the Yankees since the Blue Jays acquired him. In those three starts, he has allowed five runs on 20 hits over 19.1 innings of work. He has a 20/4 K/BB ratio in those outings. The Blue Jays immediately set up their rotation to use Price in every start against the Yankees and they are 2-1 in those games thus far. Price has not allowed more than three runs in a start for Toronto and, if you take away his final start with the Tigers, when he was waiting on pins and needles to be traded, he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a game since June 28.

MLB Prediction: New York Yankees

From a value standpoint, the Yankees are the only side to take in this one. Price was dominant against the Yankees the first time, but gave up 11 hits in 7.1 the second time and needed 96 pitches to get through five the third time. The Blue Jays probably win this game, but this line is inflated.