The New York Yankees open a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays Monday at Yankee Stadium. After taking two of three from the Cleveland Indians over the weekend the Yankees have re-established a little breathing room in the American League East. After seeing their lead shrink to 2.5 games over the Tampa Bay Rays, the successful weekend pushed New York's lead back to four games.
Monday night's game begins at 7:05 p.m. ET and will be televised on YES Network.
The Yankees have 35 games remaining on their 2012 schedule, and 29 of those will be against the AL East.
"It's almost all the East after this. It's a good thing," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "You can separate yourselves by the way you play, and your destiny is in front of you, where we're going to be at the end of the year."
The Yankees begin that stretch by handing the ball to rookie David Phelps, who will be replacing Ivan Nova (on the DL with a shoulder issue) in the starting rotation. Phelps is 3-4 with a 2.69 ERA in 24 appearances, including five starts. Phelps' last two appearances were starts made in place of CC Sabathia while the Yankee ace was sidelined with an elbow injury. He went 1-1 in those two games.
Toronto will pitch right-hander Henderson Alvarez (7-11, 4.84) on Monday.
Here are the pitching matchups for the rest of the three-game series:
Tuesday: Phil Hughes, Yankees (12-11, 4.15) vs. Ricky Romero (8-11, 5.63)
Wednesday: CC Sabathia (13-3, 3.44) vs. J.A. Happ (2-1, 4.15)
NOTES: Toronto slugger Jose Bautista will not play in the series. He is on the disabled list for the second time this season with a wrist injury.