Red-hot Gardner leads Yankees to first place showdown vs. Blue Jays

Brett Gardner 4

The last time these two teams met, the Yankees were able to sweep the Blue Jays in a three game showdown. Now, the Yankees go to the Rogers Centre with one goal on their mind: taking first place in the American League East.

It’s hard to believe with the way the Yankees are playing that they’re in contention for first place, but it’s also pretty easy since the rest of the American League East is playing mediocre baseball. The Yankees want the first place crown before it’s time for the All-Star Break, and to do it they’re going to send three pitchers to the mound that have done their job this season: Chase Whitley, David Phelps and Hiroki Kuroda.

I usually spend these posts talking about the pitchers, but I think it’s time to bring the bit offense the Yankees have going into this series to light. The Yankees only have one legit red-hot hitter on the team at this point and that would be Brett Gardner. Gardner has excellent numbers at Yankee Stadium this season, but the Rogers Centre is Gardner’s home away from home. From 2011-2013, he’s hitting .373 with 20 hits, 10 runs scored, five doubles, two triples, five base on balls and six stolen bases in Toronto. This season at the Rogers Centre, he has a .375 AVG with a home run and three RBI’s.

The Yankees are going to need more than Gardner’s bat if they want to stay on top: the big guys are going to have to start hitting more consistently, the team has to get better hitting with runners in scoring position…and Derek Jeter has to stop grounding into double plays. That would be very appreciated.

As always at the beginning of every series, I’ll have the pitching match-ups later. But these three games series are extremely crucial if the Yankees want to have any chance of leaving Toronto on top.

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