The four teams that will play in the American League playoffs are the Minnesota Twins, the Texas Rangers, the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. The remaining questions are who will win the AL East title and who will have home field advantage.
Managers Joe Girardi and Joe Maddon have accomplished one goal; their teams are in the post season. The next goal is to win the title and procure home field advantage throughout the playoffs. At the same time, they have to be careful not to stretch their pitching staffs. Everybody wants rested arms and you can bet that Texas and the Twins are using this as a playoff training period.
For the Yanks (94-64), the going has been tough lately. Despite CC Sabathia notching his 21st win last night, the Yanks have not looked like world champs. On the other hand, the young Rays (94-63) are playing well on both sides of the ball. The Rays enjoy a ½ game lead over the World Champions.
Tonight, the Yanks will send troubled pitcher Javier Vasquez (10-9, 5.07) to the mound to see if his stint in the bullpen has rested what appears to be a tired arm. Toronto is playing with feeling and they have always been tough on Vasquez whose lifetime record against the Jays is 5-7, 4.37.
The Jays have extraordinary long ball abilities and that spells trouble for Javier, who seems confused about how he is pitching. The Jays are impatient, aggressive hitters. Vasquez must find a way to keep the ball in the park and avoid the big inning.
Toronto counters with left-hander Brett Cecil (14-7, 4.20), who is quietly having an impressive season. Cecil gives up some hits but he has mastered the art of damage control, relying on ground ball double plays to bail him out. Cecil is 3-1, 4.21 with 26k’s lifetime vs. the Bronx Bombers. Tonight, the Jays win a high scoring battle and dent the Yank’s chances for the title.