Toronto moved its road record to .500 for the first time since June 28, capturing an 8-2 victory in the second of a three-game set at Yankee Stadium. The Blue Jays continue to live-and-die with the home run, hitting four more long balls last night, giving the team an MLB-high 167 for the season. “We’re doing a good job offensively,” outfielder Jose Bautista said. The All-Star launched his MLB-high 33rd home run in the ninth inning on Wednesday, helping the club capture its eight win in 11 games. Toronto has produced a solid 12-6 mark since the All-Star break, but will remain 11.5 games back of division-leading Tampa Bay. The club has won five of eight meetings with the Yankees this season and eight of the last 13 games in the series dating back to 2009. Toronto has won eight straight games against divisional opponents, pushing its record to 22-16 against the East (+1,010).
Blue Jays starting pitcher Shaun Marcum is riding a three-game winning streak and is 10-4 with a 3.24 ERA in 20 overall starts. During that span, he has given up four runs and 20 hits over 17.2 innings. He has produced a solid 6-2 record and 4.06 ERA in 11 road starts, tallying 54 strikeouts and issuing just 10 walks. The right-hander will be making his 12th daytime start of the year, going 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA, allowing opponents to hit for a .233 average. In 10 career outings (eight starts) against the Yankees, Marcum is 1-3 with a 6.39 ERA. Today will be his first start at the new Yankee Stadium, as he went 0-2 with a 6.27 ERA in six games at the old venue.
New York has fallen into second place in the division for the first time since June 12, but still carries an impressive 34-18 mark at home this season (+170). The recent struggles have been magnified by the inability of All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez to his 600th career home run. “It’s hard to tell if a guy is pressing,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Right now, he’s in a little funk.” He is 9-for-46 in 12 games since hitting his 599th big fly. The Yankees have managed to average just 4.7 runs per game over their past seven games, with the lineup combining to hit .230 over that span. New York has a good chance of bouncing back during the day, averaging 6.3 runs and hitting .290 in 38 games under the sun in 2010 (25-13, +360). The Bronx Bombers still lead all teams with 571 runs scored this season and have outscored opponents by an impressive +130 run-differential.
Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes is 12-4 with a 4.07 ERA in 19 starts this season, with the team alternating wins and losses over his last four outings. He is coming off a 3-2 road loss to the Rays on July 30, giving up three runs and four hits over six innings of work. The right-hander is 7-2 with an inflated 5.21 ERA in 11 home starts, surrendering 15 home runs in 65.2 frames. He gave up three of those long balls to the Blue Jays just five starts back, but the Yankees came away with a 7-6 victory. In 13 career games (six starts) against Toronto, Hughes is an even 1-1 with a 4.01 ERA.
Bettors will find the Blue Jays with a 7-2 record in Marcum’s last nine road starts and the over is 13-6-1 in his last 20 starts versus the division. The Yankees have won their last six games with Hughes on the mound following a loss and the over is 10-3 in his last 13 starts overall.