Toronto went 10-8 against the Yankees last year to win the season series for the first time since 2000, and it will go into Wednesday's finale having won nine of its last 13 home games against New York. Youngster Brett Cecil will attempt to continue his nascent success against the Yankees, while the road team turns to an oddly familiar face.
Bartolo Colon, who began the season in the bullpen, will come out to make his first start since July 2009. The Yankees have turned to him due to an injury to Phil Hughes, and manager Joe Girardi thinks he'll be equal to the task.
"This was a guy who's given us four or five innings at a time and seen hitters more than once," said Girardi. "I don't expect his stuff to be any different. He's still got to locate. That's the bottom line, but his stuff should play fine."
Colon missed all of last season and is a different pitcher from his Cy Young peak. But the Yankees have seen him work two separate four-inning relief stints, giving them confidence that he can step into the starter's role. New York still isn't sure how many pitches Colon will throw, but Girardi thinks he can get a competitive start from the veteran.
"It's what we expect," Girardi said. "This is not a rookie. This is a guy that's had a lot of success in the big leagues. He's pitched at a very high level. His arm strength has been very good. It's not quite what it used to be. This is a guy that I remember facing him, he'd throw 93, 94 [mph] in the seventh or eighth inning. He'd get up to 98 [mph]. He had an extra gear. ... This guy knows how to pitch."
Colon, for his part, is confident that he's fully recovered from the elbow woes that cost him a season.
"I think I can pitch every five days," he said. "I feel good right now. It's not my decision [on how many pitches I'll throw]. If it was my decision, I'd throw as many as I can. But it's up to the manager. I feel very strong to go 90, 95, 100."
The Blue Jays got to Mariano Rivera for a rare blown save on Tuesday -- his first in eight opportunities this season -- before locking down the win in extra innings. And now it's time for Cecil, who is 1-1 with a 6.19 ERA, to reprise his role as a Yankees killer. The southpaw is 4-1 with a 4.32 career ERA in seven starts against New York.
Yankees: No strangers to going deep
The Yankees have been incredibly prolific in the long ball department, and they lead the Major Leagues in both home runs (29) and multihomer games (10). New York has gone without a homer only twice this season, and its 29 home runs through 15 games is the highest total in franchise history. The Yankees have six players with at least four homers.
New York has scored at least four runs 13 times this season -- the most in the Majors -- and is 9-4 in those circumstances. Second baseman Robinson Cano has a 10-game hitting streak and is batting .333 (14-for-42) in that span.
Blue Jays: Aggressive baserunning in style
The Blue Jays have continued to be the league's most active team on the basepaths. Toronto has 23 stolen bases in 29 attempts, both Major League highs and a brand new facet of the team's attack. The Blue Jays didn't get their 22nd stolen base until their 50th game last season, but now they have speed to go with raw power.
Jose Bautista has reached base safely in 13 of his last 14 games and has 14 walks this season. Toronto's right fielder homered and scored three times in Tuesday's victory. Bautista homered against New York six times last year.
Rivera had thrown 17 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings in April, a trend that took him all the way back to April 30, 2009. ... The Yankees have won all four home series this season. ... Eleven of Toronto's 17 games have been decided by two runs or less. ... The Blue Jays are 4-7 in their last 11 games and have lost three straight series.