New York Yankees tune up for playoffs with finale vs. Toronto Blue Jays

NEW YORK — Watching the scoreboard show the Boston Red Sox taking a lead was disappointing for the New York Yankees.

It was not as frustrating as what the Yankees witnessed last season on their home field during the final day of the regular season when the Baltimore Orioles celebrated clinching a spot in the wild-card game.

This time, the Yankees are putting the finishing touches on a successful regular season Sunday afternoon when they conclude a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees (91-70) were eliminated from the AL East title race 21 minutes after securing a 2-1 win Saturday afternoon. Even if they stayed alive again, they could have only won the division by beating the Red Sox in a one-game tiebreaker at Yankee Stadium.

“We took care of our business, that’s all we can do,” New York left-hander CC Sabathia said.

Despite falling short, the Yankees are among the hottest teams in the game. Since getting swept by the Cleveland Indians on Aug. 28-30, New York is 21-8 and has won nine of its last 10 series.

“We fought for the AL East title and I’m very proud of the guys in that room and what they’ve accomplished, the way that our veterans have led us, the way that our kids have stepped up in a huge way for us,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.

Instead they will spend Monday working out and Sunday capping a season not many expected after New York missed the playoffs for the third time in four seasons in 2016.

The Yankees will likely rest some players and it’s possible Aaron Judge will sit. If he does not play, he will finish his rookie season with 52 homers, 114 RBIs, 127 walks, 128 runs scored to go along with a .284 average, an on-base percentage of .422 and a 1.049 OPS.

“Tremendous year,” Toronto manager John Gibbons said. “He had that unbelievable start, then after the All-Star break he came back to being a normal guy, and everybody couldn’t understand why, that’s just the way baseball is. Then he really picked it up the last month, he has over 50 home runs, it’s an incredible year.”

The Blue Jays (75-86) hindered and aided the Yankees in the last week. Last weekend, they took two of three to push New York five games out, but won the first two contests in Boston to help the Yankees gain two games.

Toronto failed to recover from a 9-18 start after back-to-back appearances in the ALCS. The Blue Jays never reached .500 and will try to at least get their offense going for the final game after being held to one run and striking out 28 times in the first two games of the series.

Sunday may also be Jose Bautista‘s final game for the Blue Jays, who acquired him in 2008 and re-signed him to a one-year deal in the offseason. Bautista was 0-for-4 Saturday and is hitting .201 with 23 homers and 64 RBIs in 156 games.

It also will be the final chance for Justin Smoak to reach 40 homers for the first time. Smoak is two away from the milestone after going a 13th straight game without a homer.

Jordan Montgomery will conclude his rookie season by starting for the Yankees. Since making his major league debut April 12, he is 9-7 with a 3.96 ERA in 28 starts.

The left-hander has allowed one run in his last 12 innings after permitting one run on six hits in six innings during Tuesday’s 6-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays.

New York is 13-15 when he starts but is 4-0 in his last four outings and Montgomery is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in those starts.

Montgomery made his only start against the Blue Jays on June 3 at Toronto when he allowed three hits in six innings during a 7-0 win in a game when Josh Donaldson, Bautista, Kendrys Morales and Smoak were a combined 0-for-14 with six strikeouts.

Brett Anderson began this season as a member of the Chicago Cubs but is ending it with the Blue Jays, and will be their starter Sunday. Since joining the Blue Jays, Anderson is 2-2 with 6.04 ERA in six starts.

Anderson last pitched Monday at Boston when he allowed three runs on six hits in five innings before leaving with a blister.

The left-hander is 0-5 with a 7.92 ERA in six career starts against the Yankees. His last start with the Cubs occurred against the Yankees when he allowed five runs and recorded one out before exiting with a back injury on May 6 at Wrigley Field.

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