It’s only April, but the AL East is shaping up to be a gauntlet. The Red Sox are flying, the Blue Jays are hot out of the gates, and the preseason favorite Yankees are struggling to get it together — but that will likely change soon.

The early landscape in the division has added some weight to these April games, which is always nice as an onlooker.

Things get started early on Saturday as the Bombers take on Long Island native Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. ET. After an 8-5 loss as heavy favorites last night, the Yankees will look to avoid a second straight defeat and stay within striking distance of the top of the division.

After the Yankees and Jays battle it out early, Boston ace Chris Sale will take on another electric southpaw, Oakland’s Sean Manaea, on the West Coast. Manaea (pictured above) is off to a great start for the A’s, and even though he’s not in the same tier as Sale, there are plenty of similarities between the two. This could be a powerful pitching matchup.

Happy Saturday, let’s get to work.


Toronto Blue Jays (+136) @ New York Yankees (-151) | O/U: 9
1:05 p.m. ET
Marcus Stroman (0-1, 7.98 ERA) vs. Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 4.70 ERA)

Fortune Favors: Heading into Friday night’s contest, the Blue Jays led the league with a 161 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus, average is 100) and a .409 wOBA (weighted on-base average, average is ~.320) with runners in scoring position, suggesting they’ve been pretty lucky offensively. The Yankees, meanwhile, are average in both wRC+ and wOBA with RISP this season but rank fourth in the Majors in wRC+ and wOBA in all situations.

The Yanks haven’t been lucky on the other side of the ball, either. The Bombers currently boast a 4.47 ERA, which is much higher than their 3.24 xFIP (a regressed version of fielding independent pitching that should, in theory, match the subject’s ERA), suggesting they’ve gotten the short end of the stick. The Blue Jays are in the opposite category, as their 3.83 ERA outpaces their 4.13 xFIP. — Michael Leboff

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Credit:

Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports. Oakland Athletics pitcher Sean Manaea signals two outs to his infielders.

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