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|10:05 AM PT11:05 AM MT12:05 PM CT1:05 PM ET13:05 ET17:05 GMT1:05 10:05 AM MST12:05 PM EST12:35 PM VEN21:05 UAE12:05 PM CT, August 19, 2018
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York Attendance: 43,176
Happ happ happy to be with Yankees, face former team
NEW YORK -- Only seven players who were with the Toronto Blue Jays for their second straight American League Championship Series appearance in 2016 remain on their active roster.
Another member of the 2016 team is in the opposing clubhouse and will be the next starting pitcher that Toronto faces.
J.A. Happ will start for the New York Yankees against the Blue Jays for the first time since last month's trade Sunday afternoon when the AL East teams conclude their three-game series.
Because of injuries, trades and departures via free agency, the only remaining players from Toronto's run to the ALCS are Russell Martin, Kevin Pillar, Devon Travis, Justin Smoak, Marcus Stroman, Marco Estrada and Joe Biagini.
Happ was with the Blue Jays until July 26, when he was traded to the Yankees for Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney.
"It's the nature of the game," Happ said Friday. "It just goes to show that when you have an opportunity you want to take advantage of it because you don't know how long you can sustain it, or how many times you'll get back there."
Happ was in the first year of a three-year contract and in his second stint with the Blue Jays two years ago. In 2016, he went 20-4 with a 3.18 ERA and last season was 10-11 with a 3.53 ERA.
This season as the Blue Jays faded from contention after a quick start, Happ was 10-6 with a 4.18 ERA. In two stints with Toronto, Happ was 59-41 with a 3.88 ERA in 135 games (127 starts).
"I think they did the right thing in trying to go for it," Happ said. "Sometimes it doesn't work, but I am certainly fortunate and I certainly wouldn't change a thing about deciding to come back to Toronto because myself and my family had a great time up there."
So far, the Yankees are experiencing good times when Happ is on the mound. In three starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA and a 0.74 WHIP.
Happ last pitched Tuesday against Tampa Bay, when he allowed one hit in seven shutout innings of a 4-1 win. He utilized his high fastball frequently and struck out nine.
"Heck, yeah, this is fun," Happ said.
Happ is the first pitcher to win his first three starts for the Yankees since Kevin Brown in 2004 after his trade from the Los Angeles Dodgers. In each outing, Happ has worked quickly.
"It's great," catcher Austin Romine said. "It's refreshing when you look up and it's the fifth, all right you're in the sixth. The game's moving. That's the pace that he works at. He knows what he's doing. He's deliberate. he executes his pitches, all of them very well."
Happ is 1-0 in two previous starts against the Blue Jays.
He will try to pitch the Yankees to a sweep after Giancarlo Stanton hit his 32nd homer and rookie Miguel Andujar drove in three runs and fell a triple shy of the cycle in Saturday's 11-6 win.
The Yankees are 12-10 since losing Aaron Judge to a fractured right wrist as Stanton and Andujar are in the middle of many things.
Stanton has homered in seven of his last 12 games and Andujar is batting .388 with six homers and 15 RBIs in his last 12 games.
The Blue Jays will be looking forward to opposing Happ after getting 13 hits in their fourth straight loss and ninth in 13 games. Toronto fell behind 8-0 before coming back.
"I'm looking forward to it," Toronto manager John Gibbons said. "We know what he's got. We just got to hit it."
Happ's opponent will be one of the young pitchers he mentored in his final weeks with the Blue Jays as Ryan Borucki starts.
Borucki first got to know Happ when they were rehabbing injuries in 2013 and then bonded with him with both pitchers being natives of the Chicago area.
"He's a Chicago guy, I'm a Chicago guy," Borucki said. "Once I got here, he was just so open to teaching me everything about, to go about being the clubhouse, dress code, things like that. What he does, what his routine is and how he goes about facing certain guys."
Borucki is 2-2 with a 3.29 ERA in his first nine starts since making his debut on June 26 in Houston. Borucki has allowed two runs or fewer in six starts but allowed four runs and six hits in four innings of a no-decision Tuesday in Kansas City.
"It's going to be weird," Borucki said. "It's going to be fun. He's such a great guy, a good competitor, it's going to be fun going out there and facing him."
Borucki dealt with a toe blister in his last outing and Gibbons noted the left-hander was wearing the same pair of cleats all season.
"I told him, 'You're in the big leagues, they'll give you new cleats," Gibbons said.
Updated August 18, 2018
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