The Yankees and Blue Jays met in the early Crucial series

As he approached the plate to lead Monday’s game against the Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays central field player George Springer at the Yankees Stadium greeted the crowd. He promptly singled out.

When he approached the bat again in the third inning, even more booze followed. This time the result was not the best for the Yankees fans: the home run with two races became the key in the victory in Toronto with a score of 3-0.

While Springer was mostly mocked for his role in the 2017 Houston Astros, the team that toppled the Yankees on their way to the World Series title, which has since been tainted by a character theft scandal, the feeling between the parties isn’t entirely friendly in this season.

Rivals – along with the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Race – will fight for the entire season in the division in which three teams reached the playoffs last year. The Yankees with 92 wins finished last in the American League, leaving the Blue Jays with 91 wins watching October baseball from home.

This year the chances of reaching the playoffs have improved. Under the new working agreement, the field of the Premier Baseball League has been expanded to 12 teams out of 10. But the 19 showdowns between the Yankees and the Blue Jays, a fashionable choice for the pre-season World Series, will continue to be intense, competitive and exciting.

“It’s life in the Eastern American League,” said Blue Jays manager Charlie Manto, whose team is playing its first series of the season this week against the Yankees in four games. “All the teams are good. There will be a battle all year. They just played with Boston and they’re going to play with us and we’ll play with them and then with Boston. ”

Monday, the team’s first meeting this season, offered a preview of what might be. The score was close. The stars shone. The crowd and teams understood the stakes.

“They have the same talent as we do,” said first-base Blue Jess Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who finished second in the American League Award for Most Valuable Player last season. “But obviously you have to go out on the field and lay out.”

“They’re a great ball,” Yankee outfielder Aaron Judge said, adding later, “They have guys who fight for strength, gain good speed up and down, and then fall great. They will be difficult all year round, but we are looking forward to it. “

The Blue Jays can really hit. Any squad, led by shortstop Bo Bischet, right-hander Theoscar Hernandez, Springer and Guerrero, should have no problem scoring points. Even without an outstanding third-base baseman Matt Chapman who was added to the off-season trade, the Blue Jays topped the Premier League last season in home runs (262) and at base plus a drop percentage (0.797).

Knowing this, the Toronto coaching staff highlighted another aspect of the team’s game, one that was sometimes a weakness last season: its defense. To succeed, the Blue Jays have made largely symbolic changes to the traditional pre-game training order, where players first take the balls and then work on their shots.

“My message was from the beginning: the serve and defense are going to win games in this league. It’s hard to beat every day, “Mantoyo said, adding later,” And you can’t give this team, or any team in the American League, any chance – or any second chance. “

The Blue Jays were one of the teams with the most wins in the second half of last season, thanks in part to Bischet’s improvement in defense, Mantoyo said. Bischet, who led all MLB short stops with 24 errors last season, credited the Blue Jays coaching staff as well as retired Troy Tulawicki for the pass. In the off-season, Bischet spent time in Texas, perfecting his game with Tulovitsky, a two-time Golden Glove winner.

“He just made it easy for me,” Bischet said. “Just how to catch the ball and make a throw. Play for free. Be aggressive. It helped me a lot that I allowed myself to be mentally free. “

Efforts showed against the Yankees on Monday. Starting pitcher Alec Manoa kept the Yankees under control, making seven outings in six zero innings. (His fast swords were on the cc faster than usual, often reaching 96 miles per hour.) “It’s just New York adrenaline,” he said. Star Game: He retreated far to the right to capture Giancarlo Stanton’s broken earth, then jumped and rushed through his body for a third exit.

“Last year we learned a lot that if we want to win the World Series and become a champion team, we have to be killed on all sides of the ball,” said Bishet, who scored 0.298, making 29 home runs and 102 rebounds. last season. “So giving, defending, hitting, it won’t be perfect every day, but the work we put in and the commitment to it definitely pays off.”

In the seventh inning, when Manoa dropped out of the game, Bischet teamed up with second man from the bottom of Santiago Espinal to convert a double game with two men at base. When the defense moved to the left against Josh Donaldson, Espinal stopped the ground ball to his left and turned to throw it to Bishet, who used a 360-degree rotation after touching second base to direct the ball to the first. Guerrero pumped his fist and shouted, fleeing the field.

“I feel like we’re just a bunch of kids going out and giving away everything we have,” Bischet said, adding later about Yankee Stadium: “Honestly, we feel comfortable wherever we are. . I love playing with these guys. It’s a lot of fun. “

The rise of the Blue Jays to fame over the past two years coincides with the development of young stars such as 23-year-old Guerrero; Bischet 24; and Hernandez, 29. Bischet said the Blue Jays have always been confident in their potential, so “the world is probably a little behind what we thought.” And even though the bullpen in the winter was mostly intact, and the Blue Jays lost Robbie Ray, AL Cy Young Award winner 2021, and second man from the bottom of Marcus Semen’s free agency, Guerrero said the team was the best in this year because of existing and new talent.

The Yankees feel the same way. The starting pitchers are Jameson Theion, who on Monday allowed two runs in five innings, and Luis Severin are now healthier than last year. The lineup is more balanced and diverse in terms of skills than at the start of last season, due to the addition of shortstop Isaiah Keener-Falef, first baseman Anthony Ritz and Donaldson.

After 29-19 against the Blue Jays from 2018 to 2020 last year the Yankees were less fortunate. They were 8-11 against their opponents, but still managed to beat Toronto and took last place in the AL.

“Every game is huge,” Springer said after Monday’s win. “Last year we learned that every game matters. This is a good start, but there is still a long way to go. “

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