Toronto right-hander Alek Manoah will start Saturday afternoon against the visiting New York Yankees, and it could not come at a better time.

The Blue Jays were trounced 12-3 by the Yankees in the opener of the three-game series on Friday night. That followed Toronto’s 10-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.

In those two games, Blue Jays starters Kevin Gausman (Thursday) and Ross Stripling (Friday) combined for a total of six innings, which put a burden on the bullpen.

Reliever Trent Thornton gave up five runs and Trevor Richards allowed three more in New York’s eight-run fifth inning on Friday.

“We didn’t execute our pitches,” Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. “We threw too many pitches over the heart of the plate. They’re just a hot team.

“When you play a team that hot, you have to execute. To get teams like that, you’ve got to pitch better.”

Manoah (8-1, 1.67 ERA) has pitched fewer than six innings only once in his 12 starts this season, and that was when he went five innings against the host Cleveland Guardians on May 8.

“I just want to be a workhorse,” Manoah said. “That’s what I build everything around, going out there and eating a ton of innings, giving up no runs and letting that offense get hot. It’s just a blessing.”

Manoah also has pitched well against the Yankees, who are on an eight-game win streak.

Manoah will face Yankees right-hander Jameson Taillon (7-1, 2.93 ERA) on Saturday.

Manoah is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two starts against the Yankees this season 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA in four career starts against them.

In three starts against the Blue Jays this season, Taillon is 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA. In seven career starts going back to 2017, he is 3-3 with a 4.08 ERA against them.

The Yankees have altered their pitching rotation for the series, with right-hander Luis Severino to start on Sunday instead of right-hander Gerrit Cole.

Severino was scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday because he had a fever and chills. He was briefly put on the COVID-19 injured list, but Severino was cleared from the list after several negative tests.

“So we’ll pitch him Sunday. Gerrit (Cole) will bump to Monday,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said before Friday’s game.

The Yankees will begin a three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays in St. Petersburgh, Fla., on Monday.

“So, yeah, glad (Thursday) was a good day for him feeling better and obviously able to travel with us, so he gets some throwing in (Friday) and be ready to roll Sunday,” Boone said of Severino.

Severino has matched up better against the Blue Jays than Cole this season.

The Blue Jays scored three earned runs in 5 2/3 innings off Cole on May 13, his lone appearance against them this season. Severino is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in two starts against Toronto this season.

Reliever Ryan Weber, who filled in Thursday for the Yankees with 3 2/3 solid innings in the 2-1 win over the Rays, was designated for assignment with the return of Severino.

Toronto shortstop Bo Bichette (bruised foot) did not play on Friday.

The Blue Jays recalled infielder Otto Lopez and right-hander Casey Lawrence from Triple-A Buffalo on Friday and optioned left-hander Matt Gage and right-hander Jeremy Beasley to Buffalo.

Lawrence allowed two runs in four innings of relief against the Yankees on Friday.

–Field Level Media