DJ LeMahieu
Jay Biggerstaff | USA TODAY Sports

Twenty wins later, the Yankees are officially legit.

Not even a slight power outage stopped them against the Rangers. The Yankees scored only five runs in three games, yet still took two out of three after two rainouts and rescheduling galore.

Next up: Two quick games at home against the Blue Jays. New York took two of three games last week in Toronto. The Yankees own the best record in the American League, while the offseason darlings from up north have fallen to third in the AL East.

Let’s break it down:

Blue Jays (17-13) at Yankees (20-8)

Time: 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday; 12:35 p.m. ET on Wednesday.


Probable pitching matchups (Blue Jays pitcher listed first)

  • Yusei Kikuchi (1-1, 4.35 ERA) vs. Luis Severino (2-0, 3.75 ERA)
  • José Berríos (2-1, 5.34) vs. Jameson Taillon (2-1, 2.84)

Worth watching: Don’t look now, but the Blue Jays haven’t played well since last facing the Yankees. Losing two straight games for the first time was just the tip of the iceberg. Toronto has gone 2-6 since that fateful Yankees series and just lost three of four to the same Guardians who the Yankees swept last month. Even if the Yankees’ bats have cooled, New York’s elite pitching practically makes this a must-win series for Toronto.

Key matchup: Bo Bichette, like many of his teammates, has been slumping a bit. He’s batting just .238 on the year, but has hit .261 versus the Yankees in 2022. This is a microcosm, as Bichette is a .321 career hitter with 10 home runs and a .959 OPS against the Yankees. He had five hits against New York in Toronto last week. The Jays really need him to get going at the top of the lineup if they want their fortunes to change.

X-factor: DJ LeMahieu is in a funk, one bad enough that he didn’t run out a groundball in Monday’s game and it drew Aaron Boone’s attention. He’s batting just. 235 in May and his batting average has dropped to .283. That’s not necessarily bad, but LeMahieu is a two-time batting champ who owns the Blue Jays. He’s a .340 career hitter against Toronto and needs to be the pacemaker at the top of the lineup, especially with a long stretch of games coming.

Final thoughts and prediction: The Yankees looking flat against the Rangers can be traced to back-to-back rainouts. We all know how good this team is at scoring and this week’s pitching matchups favor New York too. Even so, the Blue Jays are still a good team that’s just in a slump and the Yankees were pressing way too much against the Rangers. Just like the last time Toronto came to the Bronx, each team will shine. Series split.

Josh Benjamin has been a staff writer at ESNY since 2018. He has had opinions about everything, especially the Yankees and Knicks. He co-hosts the “Bleacher Creatures” podcast and is always looking for new pieces of sports history to uncover, usually with a Yankee Tavern chicken parm sub in hand.