The Toronto Blue Jays are on a surge, but they will be hosting a team that is just a little bit warmer in the New York Yankees when they open a four-game series Thursday night.
The Blue Jays completed a 7-3 road trip Wednesday afternoon when they held off the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3.
The Yankees, meanwhile, are on an eight-game winning streak after completing a three-game sweep of the Orioles at Baltimore with a 14-2 victory Wednesday night.
The Yankees have hit at least five home runs in three straight games -- a total of 16 -- to tie a major league record. The Blue Jays split four games with the Orioles in the previous series.
The series against the Yankees will mark the home debut of Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette, who started his major league career July 29 for the opener of the trip against the Kansas City Royals.
Bichette has hit in each of his first 10 games, including doubles in a club-record eight straight games. He is 18-for-44 with eight doubles and three homers for a line of .409/.458/.795. He also has made four errors.
"All I know is that we can play," Bichette said. "All I have seen is we can play and we can beat whoever. I'm expecting (the Blue Jays to) play a good series against New York. It should be fun. The fans are awesome from what I have heard and really supportive, so I am excited to go up there and get my first (home) series underway."
The Yankees are leading the American League East despite a season-long procession of injuries. Luke Voit (sports hernia), Edwin Encarnacion (fractured right wrist) and Aaron Hicks (right flexor strain) are the latest injuries, increasing the number of players on the injured list to a major league-high 16.
"It's been a crazy year in that way, with the amount of things that have happened to guys physically," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "But it's also been a real rallying cry for us. It's not just brought a level of physical toughness to the room, but it's forced guys to be mentally tough as well.
"It's part of the hunger that exists with those guys, because they have the mindset of: Nothing's going to get in our way and nothing's going to stop us."
Their other injured players include Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino and Dellin Betances.
The Yankees will start right-hander Domingo German (14-2, 3.98 ERA) Thursday, with the Blue Jays starting left-hander Thomas Pannone (2-4, 5.98).
German is 5-0 with a 4.24 ERA in six starts since returning from the injured list July 3. He had been put on the IL June 9 with a left hip flexor strain. He is 1-2 with a 2.35 ERA in four career games (two starts) against the Blue Jays. He is 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA in one start at the Rogers Centre.
Pannone will be making his first home start of the season. He is 1-0 with four run-less innings in two relief appearances against the Yankees this season. He is 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in four career games (one start) against the Yankees.
In five starts this season, he is 0-3 with an 8.86 ERA. In 22 relief outings, he is 2-1, 4.19.
--Field Level Media
Blue Jays try to slow hot Yankees