Yankees - Blue Jays Series Preview: Storylines to Follow as the Yankees Come Home

Yankees baseball returns to the Bronx this weekend with some much-anticipated debuts.
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge (99) reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the Arizona
New York Yankees' Aaron Judge (99) reacts after hitting a two-run home run against the Arizona / Rob Schumacher/The Republic / USA TODAY

The Yankees home opener starts Friday afternoon as the team plays host to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees are off to an incredible 6-1 start while the Blue Jays are 3-4 including a game where they were no-hit by the Astros. The Yankees will send Marcus Stroman, Clarke Schmidt, and Luis Gil to the mound while the Blue Jays will send Yusei Kikuchi, Kevin Gausman, and most likely Bowden Francis.

The Blue Jays offense struggled in their last series, scoring two runs across three games in Houston. Justin Turner has been his red-hot consistent self as his Blue Jays career is underway batting .318 in 22 at-bats with a home run.

Returning to the Bronx will be Isaiah Kiner-Falefa who's having his normal season batting .250 while pitching a hitless inning of relief in mop-up duty. They'll also face familiar face Chad Green who they saw at the end of last season for the first time.

Judge and Verdugo Finally Broke Through But Can They Get Hot Now?

Up until the seventh game of the season neither Aaron Judge nor Alex Verdugo had much success at the plate. Judge would hit his first homer of the year in the fourth, going 2-4 with a walk, while Verdugo went 1-4 with a two-run homer in the tenth inning. The pair is a combined 9-53 this far in the season but their home runs may lead to a turnaround. Despite the struggles of Judge, Verdugo, Rizzo, and Stanton, the offense has produced. However, they'll need to turn it around if this team is going to continue its hot streak.

The Stroshow Debuts in the Bronx

Marcus Stroman makes his Yankee Stadium debut in pinstripes on Friday afternoon and it'll be much anticipated.

In his career at Yankee Stadium, Stroman is 2-6 with a 6.06 ERA across eleven starts. However, he won't be facing the Yankees this time. This will also mark the second time Stroman faces the team that drafted him. Stroman's first start was solid but, the Yankees will need another solid start to get this series off on the right foot.

Can Anthony Volpe Continue This Run of Excellence?

The improved swing of Anthony Volpe has been the top storyline outside of the arrival of Juan Soto to the Yankees. On the season, Volpe is 9-22 with a .409 batting average with four walks, three doubles, a home run, and three RBIs. The emergence of Volpe can elevate this Yankees team to a World Series contender as they hope. The return to the basics has seen Volpe reach the level everyone expected him to get to as a top prospect.

What Does Luis Gil Have in Store?

The return of Luis Gil was magnificent, pitching 4.2 innings allowing one hit and three walks with six strikeouts.

The young pitcher will make his second start of the year in the final game of the series and could provide some clarity going forward with his performance. A second solid start can allow the team to plan for Gil in the rotation long term while a shaky start may slow the team's expectations.

If Gil continues to be dominant, he'll start to fit himself into the team's long-term plans as a cost-controlled pitcher.

What Will Juan Soto Do for His First Roll Call?

One of the best Yankee stadium moments every year is the first roll call of the season. The debut of Juan Soto in the Bronx in all likelihood may be the most anticipated of all-time in the new stadium.

We've seen some iconic roll call responses from Brett Gardner's flex, to Nick Swisher's salute, and Johnny Damon's kneel and point. The flair of Juan Soto will certainly provide something fun to watch for the rest of the season.

Keep Stacking Series Wins Early On

The Yankees need to continue stacking series wins early on in the season as they look to return to the playoffs. We saw the Yankees start hot last season before injuries derailed the season. The Yankees' injury history makes stacking wins early while fully healthy important as they can build a buffer in what may be the toughest division in baseball.

The Yankees will need solid starts again from Stroman, Schmidt, and Gil to shut down this Blue Jays team while an offensive explosion could continue to push the Yankees towards a bounce back season.

Following the hot start, the New York Yankees are now the favorites (+360) to win the American League.

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