Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Jays open series vs. slumping Yankees

MLB Baseball

The New York Yankees will be desperate for a win when they open a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night in Buffalo.

The Yankees have lost three consecutive games and 11 of their past 15 to tumble to fourth place in the American League East.

“We’ve got quite a bit of season left and we still have a little time left to figure that out,” outfielder Brett Gardner said Sunday after the Yankees’ 7-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. “But you know, every day that passes is a wasted opportunity.”

The Yankees were without Aaron Judge (back spasms) on Sunday, but they hope to have him back Tuesday.

New York manager Aaron Boone took responsibility after the series-closing loss in Philadelphia.

“It starts with me in setting the tone and setting the culture here that’s hopefully putting everyone in a good position to go out and perform at the highest levels,” Boone said. “We clearly have not done that well enough to this point.

“My confidence in those guys is unwavering, but it definitely starts with me as far as making sure we’re in our best position to go out and play our best game. And we definitely haven’t done that well enough.”

The Yankees’ pitching has struggled with a 6.06 ERA over the past seven games after it was an early-season strength.

“I do feel like we’re competing better and at times I feel we’ve needed to be better in that regard,” Boone said. “That said, we all know, when we put this uniform on, we’re expected to win. And we need to pick it up in the biggest kind of way.”

The Yankees will start left-hander Jordan Montgomery (3-1, 3.99 ERA) on six days’ rest following days off on Friday and Monday. Montgomery is 0-0 with a 5.79 ERA in one outing against Toronto this season and 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA in seven career games (six starts).

The Blue Jays will start their top pitcher, left-hander Hyun Jin Ryu (5-4, 3.34). Ryu has faced the Yankees twice this season (1-0, 1.50). He is 2-2 with a 4.46 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees.

The Blue Jays are coming off a 3-4 road trip against the Chicago White Sox (1-2) and the Boston Red Sox (2-2). They split the series at Boston despite outscoring the Red Sox 31-14.

Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit his major-league-leading 22nd homer of the season with two outs in the ninth inning on Monday to tie the game. The Red Sox scored in the bottom of the inning to win 2-1.

Guerrero has homered in four consecutive games for the first time in his career.

The Blue Jays will be without left-hander Steven Matz, who tested positive for COVID-19 but was showing no symptoms.

Outfielder George Springer (oblique, quadriceps), who has been limited to four games this season, could return to the Toronto lineup soon. He will begin a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday and play five innings in the field.

“I don’t want to speculate on how many games,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “It’s all about him feeling right and healthy to come back to the big leagues. It could take one game, it could take five, it could take 10. We’ll communicate with him every day to see how he feels.”

The Blue Jays are 6-3 this season against the Yankees.

–Field Level Media

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