Toronto Blue Jays

Yankees-Blue Jays: Facing the Evil Empire

NEW YORK - JULY 02: Alex Rodriguez #13 of the New York Yankees removes his helmet after hitting a flyball in the eighth inning agaisnt the Seattle Mariners on July 2, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Ian HunterCorrespondent IJuly 3, 2009

The last time the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays met, things were very different.

Back in mid-May, Toronto was flying high, perched atop the standings, while New York was struggling to hover around the .500 mark. My, how the tables have turned.

Just like every other year, it seems like the Yankees struggle through the first few months, and just when the critics have counted them out, that’s when they step up and deliver. Since that series in Toronto, the Yankees have put together a 30-17 record and have recorded a nine- and a seven-game win streak along the way.

On the other hand, the Blue Jays have been 20-26 since that fateful series in Toronto, with a nine-game losing streak and a couple of four-game losing steaks to their name.

The key to the Yankees' resurgence can be linked to one player: Mark Teixeira.

Expectations for Teixeria were astronomical in New York after signing a contract that was big enough to single-handedly bail out several small countries. He fell on his ass the first part of the season, but just like the Yankees, he found his footing and hasn’t looked back.

Since May 12th, Tex has hit 13 home runs, and driven in 43 RBI.

Now the focus for the Blue Jays turns to this four-game series inside the “House that Hank Built”. It’s important for them to do well, because this is the most crucial series that the Blue Jays will play in the first half of the season.

Sitting four games back of the Yankees is a comfortable and familiar place for the Blue Jays, so they will have to fire on all cylinders if they want to gain some ground.

It all starts this afternoon in another highly anticipated matchup against A.J. Burnett. It won’t be the magnitude of the Doc/A.J. showdown, but I look forward to the possibility of Burnett getting beaten by his former team for the second-straight time.

A piece of advice to the Yankees batboys—make sure you place the coolers far away from the dugout, just in case things get ugly later on.

David Dellucci will attempt to provide some added firepower from the left-hand side (which sounds oddly enough like lyrics from “Pass the Dutchie”), as he was called up from Las Vegas earlier this morning.

Russ Adams cleared his locker and is sent packing back to Triple-A after spending just eight games on the roster. This will be the Blue Jays fourth attempt at having another formidable lefty in the lineup, as Dellucci will get his first crack in a Jays uniform against the Yankees this afternoon.

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