The Yankees start a three-game series in Toronto tonight aginst the (almost) surprising Blue Jays. They get the almost because they lost two of three at home to first place Tampa Bay. They are 5 1/2 games behind the Rays and 3 1/2 in bakc of the Yanks as the teams meet for the first time this season.
We’ll get to the starting pitchers as it gets closer to game time, but let’s look at what makes this team tick.
Two words: A Major League leading 91 home runs.
After Jose Bautista (16 homers, 41 runs batted in), Vernon Wells checks in with 13. He was on the ``must dump’’ list by the Blue Jays after he failed the litmus test of a seven-year, $126 million contract. He averaged 16 homers after that 2006 deal was signed. Obviously, there were no takers. Now, he is batting .306 with a league leading 20 doubles.
Alex Gonzalez has 11 homers, catcher John Buck 9, Aaron Hill and Adam Lind 8 and Lyle Overbay 7.
You never heard of leftfielder Fred Lewis, but he is batting .310 with 19 doubles. The team is only hitting .248.
You might remember Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, who looked like a big time budding HR hitter when he smacked 29 for the Padres in 1970. He finished with a mere 91 in his career.
Caution: The Blue Jays always find a way to fall apart. They are a combined 3-8 against the Red Sox and Rays, 6-0 against Baltimore. They need to win two of three against the Yankees to make any kind of statement.