The Yankees will look to continue their success against the Blue Jays when the teams meet on Friday at Yankee Stadium.
New York has won nine straight season series at home against Toronto, and that pattern continued on Thursday, when the Yankees came back from a three-run deficit to defeat the Blue Jays in the series opener.
The Yankees will send Ivan Nova to the mound. The 26-year-old righty hopes to rebound after struggling in his most recent outing, in Toronto, where he had trouble repeating his delivery.
"I'm just not repeating my pitches, repeating my pitches when I have to," said Nova after that outing. "I still had a lack of command. I'm not throwing strikes, and that's making me mad. I know I can do better than this. I'm not happy."
"He'll throw one pitch down and away, and the next pitch will be up and in," added catcher Chris Stewart. "You have to be able to repeat what you need to do, and if you don't, you're going to get in trouble."
Taking the mound for Toronto will be Aaron Laffey, who will start in place of Josh Johnson (0-1, 6.86 ERA), scratched Friday morning as a precaution after he experienced right triceps tightness. The Blue Jays claimed Laffey off waivers from the Mets on Tuesday. The southpaw posted a 7.20 ERA in two outings with New York.
Laffey spent the 2012 campaign with Toronto. He compiled a 4-6 record and 4.56 ERA in 22 games, 16 of them starts.
Laffey's performance may mean nothing if Toronto can't turn things around offensively. In the past two weeks, the Blue Jays have managed to score more than four runs only twice. They won both games.
The bright spot offensively has been catcher J.P. Arencibia, who leads the team in home runs (eight) and RBIs (15), and is second in average (.267), behind only the injured Jose Reyes.
"He's off to a nice little start -- he's hit some home runs, driving in some runs -- [pitchers] are going to be a little more cautious with him now," said manager John Gibbons.
Yankees: Cano continues to roll
Robinson Cano continues to hit over the last 15 games. The power-hitting second baseman has gone 25-for-64 with seven home runs, 13 runs and 17 RBIs, including nine multihit games.
• Nova has appeared in eight career games (seven starts) vs. Toronto, combining to go 3-2 with a 4.39 ERA. In four of those seven starts, he has allowed two earned runs or fewer.
• Kevin Youkilis' back is still bugging him, but manager Joe Girardi hopes to have him back in the lineup for Saturday's contest against Blue Jays lefty J.A. Happ.
"It's just stiff," Girardi said. "He's not rotating the way he wants to rotate, which is kind of important for a hitter. He's just not ready to go … [but] I'd definitely like to have him back by [Saturday]."
Blue Jays: Arencibia moving up club ladder
Arencibia has 50 homers and is just one away from tying for the third most by a catcher in club history. Pat Borders, MVP of the 1992 World Series, has 51. At the top are Ernie Whitt, with 127, and Darrin Fletcher, who hit 59.
• Edwin Encarnacion has homered in three straight games after going deep in the first inning on Thursday. He's hit home runs in four straight days twice as a member of the Blue Jays.
• Brett Lawrie hit his first home run of the season in the second inning of Thursday's game. It was his 10th game since returning from an injured left oblique.
• The Yankees lead the season series, 3-1.
• Gibbons was ejected in the seventh inning on Thursday, the second straight game he was tossed, for arguing a reversed call. He's now been thrown out of 22 games in his managerial career.
• Toronto has scored first in only seven of its first 23 games, with Thursday's loss lowering its record to 5-2 in those contests. The Yankees, on the other hand, are 7-0 when scoring first.
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.