Blue Jays vs. Yankees preview: Celebration time for Judge, both teams?

New York Yankees designated hitter Aaron Judge hits a double against Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Brayan Bello during the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in New York. (Jessie Alcheh/AP)

The Toronto Blue Jays face the New York Yankees in a three-game series with all kinds of subplots starting Monday at Rogers Centre. 

While Blue Jays fans won’t get a chance to see their team make a serious bid for the American League East title, there will be no shortage of drama. 

Over the next three nights, Yankees star Aaron Judge could tie and break Roger Maris’ AL single-season record for homers in a season (61), New York could clinch the AL East crown, and the Blue Jays could wrap up a playoff spot — see below for further details. 

Here’s a look at the series. 


Monday, 7:07 p.m. ET / 4:07 p.m. PT: New York RHP Luis Severino (6-3, 3.36 ERA) vs. Toronto RHP Kevin Gausman (12-10, 3.32 ERA)

Tuesday, 7:07 p.m. ET / 4:07 p.m. PT: New York RHP Jameson Taillon (13-5, 3.90 ERA) vs. TBD

Wednesday, 7:07 p.m. ET / 4:07 p.m. PT: New York RHP Gerrit Cole (12-7, 3.49 ERA) vs. TBD

(All games on Sportsnet)

Latest on the Blue Jays 

The Blue Jays (86-67) maintained a two-game lead on Tampa Bay atop the wild-card race by winning the final two games of a four-game series against the host Rays. 

Toronto hit four home runs on Sunday for a convincing 7-1 win over ace Shane McClanahan and the Rays, putting the Blue Jays in excellent position with nine games left. 

George Springer hit two of the home runs, while Ross Stripling allowed one run on six hits over five innings for the win. 

Zach Pop, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards and Yusei Kikuchi held the Rays to one hit the rest of the way to preserve the victory.  

Latest on the Yankees 

Judge’s bid to tie Maris’ record at home was halted — at least for now — on Sunday night when the Yankees-Boston Red Sox game was called because of rain after six innings with New York getting the 2-0 win. 

Judge’s spot in the batting order was due up next when the storm picked up. 

The victory wrapped up a 6-0 homestand for the Yankees, who will end up coasting to the division title after a rough summer. 

Nestor Cortes allowed one hit and struck out five in the rain-shortened complete game, extending the Yankees’ win streak to seven games. 

Judge chasing history 

It seemed fitting that Judge could hit No. 61 and tie Maris against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium — Maris connected for his 61st homer versus the Red Sox 61 years ago at the old Yankee Stadium. 

Now, with Judge going homerless in the past five games, he’ll try to make history in Toronto. 

If he does so, it would be rank right up there as one of the most memorable achievements for a road player at Rogers Centre. 

Also on the list: Jose Canseco’s first-ever home run to the 500 level in the 1989 playoffs, four no-hitters (two by Justin Verlander and one each by Canadian James Paxton and Dave Stewart) and George Brett’s 1990 cycle. 

Magic numbers 

The Yankees will lock up their first AL East title since 2019 with a win in any of the three games against the Blue Jays. 

Toronto, meanwhile, has a magic number of four to secure a wild-card spot — any combination of Blue Jays wins and Baltimore Orioles losses. 

The Blue Jays need to stay ahead of the Rays and Seattle Mariners, who are 2.5 games back of Toronto, to get the top wild-card spot and home field for a best-of-three first-round series. 

The Mariners and Rays own tiebreakers on the Blue Jays. 

Playoff watch 

The Orioles, who are four games back of the Mariners for the final wild-card spot, start a four-game series in Boston on Monday against a Red Sox team playing out the string. 

The Rays and Mariners are both off Monday. 

Tampa opens a three-game series in Cleveland against the AL Central-winning Guardians on Tuesday, while the Mariners start a three-game home set against the out-of-contention Texas Rangers. 

Pitching plans 

It seems likely that Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios will start the first two games of the series for the Blue Jays as it is their turn in the rotation. 

Mitch White, who got a start last Friday, would be on schedule to start on Wednesday. It’s likely either that or a bullpen day with an off-day coming on Thursday. 

Gausman pitched seven shutout innings while giving up four hits in a win at Yankee Stadium last month, while Berrios allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits in 6.2 innings for another victory in the same series. 

White allowed one run on seven hits in four innings in a game the Blue Jays would eventually win to take a 3-0 lead in that series before the Yankees avoided the sweep in the finale. 

Up next 

The Blue Jays wrap up their home schedule with a three-game weekend series against the Red Sox. Toronto then travels to Baltimore for its final three games of the season. 

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