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Preview: Blue Jays (80-60) at Yankees (77-62)
Venue: Yankee Stadium
Date: September 12, 2015 4:35 PM EDT
A blowout loss to start a key series against the Toronto Blue Jays was bad news for the New York Yankees. The worse news was losing their cleanup hitter for the rest of the season.
The Yankees continue their postseason push without Mark Teixeira on Saturday as they play a doubleheader against the AL East-leading Blue Jays.
The Yankees trail Toronto by 2 1/2 games after opening this four-game set with Friday night’s 11-5 loss, their third straight.
The Blue Jays, trying to reach the playoffs for the first time in 22 years, won their fifth in a row in the Bronx for the first time since 2003. Russell Martin led the charge, going 3 for 5 with two home runs against his former team.
‘We definitely feed off one another, for sure. It’s just our lineup, it just has a lot of depth,’ Martin said. ‘I don’t think the opposing pitchers feel like they have any breathing room out there.’
New York (77-62) also lost Teixeira’s 31 home runs and 79 RBIs out of the middle of its lineup after tests revealed it is a broken right leg that has hampered him for nearly four weeks.
‘You can’t really put into words how disappointed I am,’ said Teixeira, who was initially diagnosed with a deep bone bruise after fouling a ball off his shin Aug. 17. ‘I feel like this team has a chance to win a World Series. I really do. And not to be able to be on the field during that run is really tough to take.’
The Yankees have hit fine without Teixeira, though, posting an MLB-high 6.69 runs per game since Aug. 27. They remain atop the wild-card standings, though their lead was cut to 3 1/2 games with Texas’ 4-0 win Friday.
Manager Joe Girardi has reason to worry about his pitching staff, which used five relievers for the final 6 2-3 innings of the opener. Girardi announced after the game he will throw Michael Pineda in Game 1 with Ivan Nova to follow in the twin bill, which was scheduled to make up for Thursday’s rainout.
“It’s not ideal for your pitching,” Girardi told MLB’s official website. “It just changes your flexibility in a sense.”
Pineda (10-8, 4.15 ERA) has struggled with a 1-3 record and 6.11 ERA in his last five starts. The right-hander allowed four or more runs in four of those outings, including four in six innings of an 8-6 New York victory over Baltimore on Monday.
Pineda is 2-2 with a 3.22 ERA in seven starts against Toronto, and he is 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two Yankees’ wins over the Blue Jays this season.
Toronto (80-60) counters with Marco Estrada, who is 1-2 against the Yankees this year despite a 3.18 ERA.
Estrada (12-8, 3.18) has held opponents to two earned runs or fewer in 13 of his last 15 starts. Carlos Beltran is 5 for 19 with three home runs against the right-hander.
Marcus Stroman will make his first start since last September for the Blue Jays in the second game after landing on the 60-day disabled list with a torn ACL in April. The righty was originally expected to miss the entire season.
Stroman went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA in 26 appearances – 20 starts – during his 2014 rookie season, including a 2-1 mark and 2.55 ERA in three starts against the Yankees.
Nova (6-7, 4.50) snapped a three-start losing streak by allowing three runs over six innings to beat the Rays 6-4 on Sunday. The right-hander will make his 100th career start.
He is 5-2 with a 4.72 ERA in 11 starts against the Blue Jays, recording a loss and a win against them in consecutive outings in August while posting a 5.11 ERA.