Jays set for final game at Yankee Stadium
The Toronto Blue Jays pay their last visit to one of the most revered buildings in sports as they close their final series at Yankee Stadium on Sunday (CBC 1 p.m. ET).
The venerable ballpark closes for good at the end of the season, to be levelled and replaced by an opulent venue on adjacent land.
The Jays (69-66) will be looking to spoil the fading playoff hopes of the Yankees with a series win before leaving the Bronx. Toronto bounced back from Friday's 2-1 loss with a 7-6 victory on Saturday.
"We need to win some games and maybe spoil some people," Toronto's Lyle Overbay said. "It's nice to do some good things and get a win out of it."
Jays ace Roy Halladay will be looking for his fourth straight win, and ninth in his last 12 starts.
Halladay is a strong Cy Young Award contender, leading the league in innings pitched and complete games, while sitting third in strikeouts and earned-run average. He is tied for second in the American League in wins.
He last met the Yankees on Aug. 21, when he pitched seven innings of a 14-3 rout by the Jays. He kept the Yanks to five hits.
'He's so good'
"He's not the best pitcher in the game for nothing," Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon said. "He's not going to leave the ball in the middle of the plate, he's not going to throw too many straight pitches. He's so good. He'd be the ace on any team in the big leagues."
Halladay will face 214-game winner and four-time World Series champion Andy Pettitte.
Pettitte has struggled recently; in his last six starts he is 1-3, and was booed by a home crowd on Tuesday for giving up six runs and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings of a 7-3 loss to Boston.
His only win in the last month came against Toronto on Aug 21, when he pitched seven innings of a 5-1 decision.
Saturday's loss may have dashed New York's hopes of a 15th straight post-season appearance, with the club now seven games behind Boston in the American League wild-card race, with 28 games left to play.
The Yankees' longshot playoff status means they likely have only 11 games left to play at their historic stadium.
End of an era
"It's going to be a very sad day when the wrecking balls come to tear down this treasure," said CBC baseball analyst Jesse Barfield, who spent most of his final four big-league campaigns with the Yankees.
Though the cavernous 57,545-seat arena may lack the charm of Boston's Fenway Park or Chicago's Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium is unmatched in the number of championship teams and all-time greats who called it home.
With legends including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and, most recently, Derek Jeter, the Yankees have won 26 World Series titles since moving into the park known to New Yorkers simply as "The Stadium."
Constructed in 1923 at the height of Ruth's legendary slugging power, and remodelled in the mid-'70s, Yankee Stadium has also hosted major prizefights, concerts, and college and pro football games. Three popes have celebrated mass there.
This year, the park hosted the major league baseball all-star game for the fourth and final time.
With files from the Associated Press