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Blue Jays vs Yankees Preview

The Yankees have fallen into second place in the AL East standings for the first time since June 12 and a lot of the blame is falling on All-Star third baseman Alex Rodriguez.

Toronto Blue Jays (56-51) at New York Yankees (66-40)

New York opened as a -179 home favorite and has moved up six ticks to its current place of -185. The total stands at 9 to 9.5. Toronto’s pension for hitting the home run is proving to be a winning recipe against its AL East rivals, led by outfield Jose Bautista launching his 33rd home run in last night’s 8-2 victory. “We’re doing a good job offensively,” he said after the game. The team has hit 23 of its league-high 167 home runs during its current 8-3 run.

The Blue Jays are an even 29-29 on the road this season and have won eight of their last 12 away from the Rogers Centre. Toronto is on quite a streak against divisional opponents, winning eight in a row, moving its record 22-16 overall against the East (+1,010). Blue Jays starting pitcher Shaun Marcum is enjoying a three-game winning streak, allowing four runs and 20 hits in 17.2 innings over that span. He has produced a 6-2 record and 4.06 ERA in 11 road starts this season. The right-hander is also a fantastic 6-1 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 daytime starts, as opponents are hitting just .233 against him.

New York is hitting a combined .169 in dropping four of its last five games, as Rodriguez is 9-for-46 since starting his pursuit for his 600th home run. “It’s hard to tell if a guy is pressing,” manager Joe Girardi said. “Right now, he’s in a little funk.” The Yankees have a good chance of avoiding a three-game sweep, coming in with a 25-13 mark in day games (+360).

Yankees starting pitcher Phil Hughes will be making his 20th start of the season and his 14th career appearances (seventh start) against the Blue Jays. He is tied for second in the AL in winning percentage with Tampa Bay’s Jeff Niemann (9-3, .750), as he brings a 12-4 record and 4.07 ERA into this contest. The right-hander is 7-2 with a 5.21 ERA in 11 home starts, surrendering 15 home runs in 65.2 innings.

The total looks more than playable, especially when looking at the amount of home runs Hughes has allowed at Yankee Stadium. The total is 20-6 O/U in Yankee home games when the total is 9 to 9.5.