Bird Hunting: After Sweeping Orioles, N.Y. Yankees Shoot for Toronto Blue Jays

September 3, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The Yankees are continuing their winning ways in early September.

They completed a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

They have won six games in a row, which includes the Orioles sweep as well as their three-game sweep at Yankee Stadium of the Chicago White Sox.

The Yankees are seven-and-one-half games ahead of the Red Sox in the A.L. East division.

Starting Thursday, the Yankees will travel to Toronto to begin a four game series with the Blue Jays, who have been sinking fast since the end of July.

Since Aug. 1, the Blue Jays are 10-19 and don’t appear to be getting any better. Lets look at the upcoming games between the Yankees and Blue Jays.


Thursday, Sept. 3: Chad Gaudin (5-10, 4.90) vs Ricky Romero (11-6, 3.95)

Gaudin will be starting in place for Segio Mitre after Mitre was hit on the forearm from a line drive hit against the White Sox. Gaudin is a tale of two pitchers; either he is very dominant and strikes out a ton of batters, or he can get completely hammered in a short amount of innings.

The Yankees will be looking for Gaudin to eat up innings. Romero has had a tremendous rookie season and could be up for 2009 A.L. Rookie of the Year and has beaten the Yankees earlier this season, so he could give the Yankees trouble in the first game. Romero’s changeup is a lethal pitch that Yankee hitters need to avoid swinging at.


Friday, Sept. 4: Joba Chamberlain (8-4, 4.38) vs Roy Halladay (13-8, 3.13)

The “Joba Rules” have been changed around so Chamberlain will pitch every five days, but he will be limited to how many pitches and innings he will throw. Last Sunday, against the White Sox, Joba only went three innings, threw 35 pitches, and did not factor into the decision.

This start will also determine how pitching on five days rest instead of seven or nine days rest will benefit Joba. Halladay has been a different pitcher since nearly being traded at the deadline on July 31. He’s been 2-4 and his ERA has gone from a 2.64 to a 3.13 and has taken losses to the Yankees, Rays and two to the Red Sox.

The last time the Yankees faced Halladay was on Aug. 4, when the Yankees won 5-3 and hit three home runs off Halladay. If Halladay’s struggles continue, the Yankees could pounce.


Saturday, Sept. 5: Andy Pettitte (12-6, 4.03) vs Brett Cecil (6-3, 5.42)

The last time Pettitte took the mound for the Yankees, he was perfect through 20 batters against the Orioles and was dominant. He was 4-0 in the month of August and has been outstanding in the second half for the Yankees.

The last time Pettitte was in Toronto, he out-pitched Roy Halladay in a 5-3 win and won his ninth game of the season. Pettitte also won in Toronto back in mid-May, so pitching in the Rogers Centre doesn’t bother Pettitte.

Cecil faced the Yankees one time on July 5, going three-and-two-thirds innings, allowing nine hits, seven runs and walked four. In his last start against the Rangers, Cecil again allowed nine hits and seven runs, but won the game 18-10. The Yankees pitching won’t be as terrible and wild as the Rangers was, so the Yankees could take advantage of Cecil’s ineffectiveness and knock him out early again.


Sunday, Sept. 6: Sergio Mitre (3-1, 5.65) vs Mark Rzepczynski (2-4, 3.67)

This was originally going to be A.J. Burnett’s start, but he was moved to Monday, and Mitre will start in the final game of this road trip and series with the Blue Jays. In his last start against the White Sox, Mitre threw six and one-third and one hit of shutout ball before getting hit on the forearm and leaving. His ERA has dropped from 7.90 at the end of July to 5.65 at the end of August.

Mitre has pitched twice against the Blue Jays, neither of which were impressive, but if he can eat innings and pitch like he did against Chicago, the Yankees could win. Rzepczynski has been nothing more than a six inning pitcher in his rookie season. He’s faced the Yankees twice and is 0-1.

He can strike out hitters, but also gives up quite a few runs in his appearances. The Yankees can’t let Rzepczynski dominate them and must force him to make mistakes.


This series is hard to tell because of the pitching matchups, but I still think the Yankees will win the series because of how well they have been playing lately and how bad the Blue Jays have been. Their offense has been on fire, their starting pitching has been strong and their bullpen has been lights out.

A four-game sweep might be hard to pull off, especially with Romero and Halladay pitching, but winning three of four could happen for the Yankees.

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