The Toronto Blue Jays will try to complete a two-game sweep of the New York Yankees on Thursday before both teams begin interleague play this weekend. The Blue Jays (20-18) routed the Yankees (20-17) by an 8-1 margin on Wednesday and will look to win their second in a row following a three-game losing streak.
Toronto hit four home runs off New York to power the offensive explosion, with first baseman Edwin Encarnacion, second baseman Kelly Johnson, outfielder Jose Bautista and catcher J.P. Arencibia knocking the ball out of the park to produce seven of the eight runs. Three of the homers were surrendered by Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda, who allowed seven runs and eight hits total in five innings of work.
New York managed just three hits in the series opener and has not won a game this season without a homer, going 0-8. The Yankees are the only team in baseball to hold that distinction, and they are also 1-13 when scoring three runs or less. They have scored a total of 11 runs in their eight losses this month and could have some trouble crossing home plate on Thursday.
Toronto rookie pitcher Drew Hutchison (2-1, 5.53) has never faced New York, and he is coming off the best outing of his young career on the road against the Minnesota Twins last Saturday. Hutchison allowed only one run on three hits in six innings of a 2-1 victory, walking four and striking out four. He has given up just one homer in his last four starts combined, three of which have come on the road. In his lone home start, Hutchison saw the Texas Rangers score five earned runs off him in six innings of an eventual 8-7 win.
The Yankees will turn to Phil Hughes (3-4, 5.50 ERA) on the mound to end their two-game skid off consecutive wins. Hughes has given up four earned runs and 12 hits in 14.1 innings over that stretch, walking two and striking out 11. He had lost four of his first five starts and is 3-3 lifetime against the Blue Jays with a 4.66 ERA. Hughes has also dropped two of his three road starts this year to go along with a 5.79 ERA. His teammates supported him with three runs combined in the two losses.
New York’s offense is a big concern right now, scoring two runs or less in losing three of four. Look for the Yanks to struggle again against a pitcher they have not seen before in Hutchison.
Free Baseball Pick: Toronto Blue Jays +100