Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Tanaka-Sanchez renew AL East rivalry

After dropping their home-opening series to the Red Sox, the Blue Jays welcome the Yankees to town for a three-game set beginning Tuesday.
On the bump for Toronto will be Aaron Sanchez, who was electric in his first start of the season last Tuesday at Tropicana Field against the Rays. The 23-year-old right-hander went seven innings, allowing just one earned run with eight strikeouts in a no-decision. The Blue Jays would go on to lose, 3-2. The Barstow, Calif., native made the Blue Jays' rotation after a strong Spring Training, winning out against veteran right-hander Gavin Floyd.
The Yankees will counter with their Opening Day starter, Masahiro Tanaka, who went 5 2/3 innings, giving up a pair of earned runs against Houston on Tuesday. Tanaka is 5-2 with a 2.23 ERA in his career against Toronto.
"I can't go into details of what kind of approach, what kind of pitching I'm going to do against them, just because it will give them the idea," Tanaka said about his game plan against Toronto. "Overall, I think they do have a very good lineup."
The Blue Jays won 13 out of 19 games in the 2015 season series, finishing six games ahead of the Yankees en route to the American League East crown.
Three things to know about this game:
• Josh Donaldson is expected back at third base on Tuesday for the Blue Jays. The 2015 AL MVP has been nursing a sore right calf. He started at designated hitter in all three weekend games against the Red Sox.
• Tanaka has been especially dominant against the Blue Jays north of the border. The right-hander owns a 2-0 mark with a 1.69 ERA at the Rogers Centre, including a complete-game victory on August 15 last season.  
• Yankees DH Alex Rodriguez has hit 58 home runs against the Blue Jays in his career, third most against any opponent. The veteran slugger is also sitting on 99 career RBIs at Rogers Centre.

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