Like you don't already know that Joba Chamberlain is pitching tonight. There's even more pressure on him since Roy Halladay is going for the Blue Jays. And it's a really big buzz night for NY baseball since Pedro Martinez returns tonight for the Mets in San Francisco.
The Yankees and Blue Jays haven't met since the opening week when the Yankees took 2 of 3 at the Stadium. Halladay lost that night in a tough showdown with Chien-Ming Wang. Chamberlain won the final game of that series after a good start by Phil Hughes (you remember him, right?). A.J. Burnett beat Mike Mussina in the lone game won by the Blue Jays.
The Jays seem to be hit by injuries every year and this year is no different. They had lost set up man Casey Janssen before the season even started, and closer B.J. Ryan started late due to his recovery from Tommy John surgery. May 10 was a tough day in Toronto. That's when start centerfielder Vernon Wells (broken wrist 6-8 weeks) and last year's closer Jeremy Accardo (right forearm tightness) went on the DL.
Defensive wizard John McDonald went on the DL with a badly sprained on May 7, and starting catcher Greg Zaun recently joined the growing list with a strained right elbow. Despite all of that, the Blue Jays are 31-28 and 5 games behind the Rays in the AL East.
They've done it all with pitching. Halladay (6-5, 2.93), A.J. Burnett (5-5, 4.32), Jesse Litsch (7-1, 3.18), Shaun Marcum (5-3, 2.63), and Dustin McGowan (4-4, 3.95) make up, arguably, the best rotation in baseball. Their 3.32 ERA is the best in the AL, and it had better be, because the Blue Jays offense stinks.
Lyle Overbay is the leading hitter at just .278. Wells missed the last 3 weeks, but still leads the team with 24 RBI. Matt Stairs is the top home run hitter with just 6. The Blue Jays, money ball disciples, are starting to do things a little different...finally. Alex Rios has 12 steals in 15 attempts. Overall though, they have the 4th fewest runs in the AL, and only the Royals have hit less home runs.
The pitching probables for the series:
Tuesday: Roy Halladay vs. Joba Chamberlain
Wednesday: Jesse Litsch vs. Mike Mussina
Thursday: Dustin McGowan vs. Chien-Ming Wang
Yankees vs. Halladay
Abreu 4-15 (.267)
Cabrera 5-18 (.278) 1 HR 1 RBI
Cano 6-16 (.375) 2 HR 4 RBI
Damon 22-70 (.314) 1 HR 2 RBI 8 BB 7 SB
Giambi 17-56 (.304) 3 HR 7 RBI 6 BB
Jeter 17-65 (.262) 4 RBI 18 K
Matsui 7-37 (.189) 1 HR 3 RBI
A-Rod 15-50 (.300) 10 RBI
and Joe Girardi was 0-1 with 1 walk. ;)
Blue Jays vs. Chamberlain
Tonight's lineup from Peter Abraham:
Chad Jennings reports that Jason Lane has not made any decisions as to whether he will opt out of his contract or not.