The New York Yankees recorded one of the most important wins of the season against the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday evening. After falling in the second game of the series, the Yankees bounced back with Corey Kluber on the mound, giving themselves a two-game cushion in the Wild Card over the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners.
Luckily for the Yankees, Boston fell to the Baltimore Orioles, but Seattle extracted a victory, finding themselves tied for second place behind the Bombers. The Yankees, though, have an extremely important series coming up against the Tampa Bay Rays, who have had their number this season and have locked down first place in the AL East standings.
Tampa lost their most recent game to the Houston Astros, dropping two of three in a three-game series. Starting at 7:05 PM on Friday night, the Bombers will host Nestor Cortes on the mound, who has a 2.85 ERA this season over 80 innings pitched. The Rays will feature Shane McClanahan, who has been one of the best young starters in the league this year, with a 3.44 ERA over 120 days. He has given up just one home run more than Cortes (14 compared to 13) — a much larger sample size.
Despite having the better pitching matchup, the Rays likely wonâ€™t see Joey Gallo, DJ LeMahieu, or Luke Voit in the Yankees’ batting order, presenting major losses for the Bombers.
Voit was placed on the 10-day injured list with a sore left knee, as skipper Aaron Boone indicated he wasnâ€™t feeling too great on Thursday.
“He woke up pretty stiff today and he’s limping around pretty good,” Boone said. “We think it’s kind of a bone bruise that can be a result of the surgery. That’s kind of been on and off for him.”
LeMahieu has right hip soreness and will likely take the next few days to rehabilitate and give it some rest before the postseason starts, given the Yankees can hold onto their slight advantage.
“I think it was affecting him more at the plate tonight,” Boone said Thursday. “Hopefully like last time, having a little treatment and just managing it as best we can, we’ll see if he’s back in there tomorrow or not.”
As for Gallo, x-rays and CT scans indicated that his left forearm didnâ€™t suffer any significant damage, which is a great sign for a team that needs their lefty batters healthy. In the 6-2 win over Toronto, Aaron Judge powered the offense forward, recording two hits and two RBIs, both of which were homers.