(Sports Network) - CC Sabathia tries to pitch the New York Yankees into the postseason this evening when he eyes his career-best 21st win of the year in the second test of a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
The team had hoped to have a postseason berth wrapped up by now with their plan being to push Sabathia back to Friday which would line him up to open the playoffs for the Yankees on regular rest next Wednesday. However, the team has stumbled of late, losing five of their last six games to fall a half-game back of the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East.
New York, though, needs just one win or a Red Sox loss to clinch its 14th playoff appearance in the last 15 years.
Toronto kept the Yankees' champagne on ice Monday, as Vernon Wells went 3- for-4 with a three-run home run to help the Blue Jays to a 7-5 win. John Buck had two hits, two RBI and two runs scored while Travis Snider scored twice for Toronto, which has won five straight games.
Marc Rzepczynski (3-4) went five innings in the start and was charged with two runs on four hits with three walks and nine strikeouts. At one point, he recorded eight straight outs by strikeouts.
It was New York's eight straight loss to a left-handed starter.
A.J. Burnett (10-15) continued to struggle and was clobbered for seven runs on seven hits over just 2 1/3 innings.
"He didn't have his good stuff tonight, and that's going to happen," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Burnett. "He was big for us in the playoffs last year, but I'm not going to talk a whole lot about the playoffs until we know we're in. We've got to get there first, and we're not in."
Since the end of May Burnett is 4-13 with a 6.67 ERA and has just one win since beating the Cleveland Indians back on July 28.
The Yanks hope Sabathia can give them a better effort tonight, as he tries to bounce back from an ugly loss to Tampa Bay his last time out. The big left- hander was tagged for seven runs and 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings of that one, dropping him to 20-7 on the year to go along with a 3.26 ERA.