I predicted that the New York Yankees would go 5-3 last week. They went 4-3 and it would have been 5-3 if the game yesterday had not been rained out. The postponement was the second time this year that was problematic. Earlier in the season, the Yankees lost two games to the weather against the Indians. At the time, the Indians were playing awfully and their pitching was a mess. It was the perfect time for the Yankees to catch them. Instead, those two games were made up after the Indians had time to regroup and start rolling. The result was a split of those two games. Yesterday could have concluded a second sweep of the Blue Jays at a time when the Blue Jays are really floundering. Will history repeat itself? As a team, you want to catch a team when they are down. The opportunity was lost.
So we enter a new week and the Yankees are back out on the road. They start the week in Baltimore and finish in their own personal house of horrors in St. Petersberg, Florida. This is going to be a very interesting week. Here is a preview of the week to come.
The Orioles just got whipped by the Rays over the weekend. They have lost five straight ballgames. That makes them a dangerous club to face. They will either come back with fire to avenge their lack of recent success or the Yankees will catch them at a down time. The latter would, of course, be preferable. The first game seems to give the edge to the Yankees as their ace, CC Sabathia, is on the mound against old friend, Freddy Garcia. Garcia is right-handed which is better for the Yankees and, on a bad night, can be a batting practice pitcher. The Yankees should win this game. But, "should," is always such a dangerous word.
The second game also seems to give the advantage to the Yankees if you can forget about Phil Hughes' last two starts and focus on the ones that preceded them. Those last two starts make that mighty difficult however, particularly the last one which was, arguably, the worst start of his career. The Orioles will pitch Miguel Gonzalez who has missed a couple of starts due to injury. The Yankees have had mixed results against him in the past with success in their more recent contests he has pitched. Again, Gonzalez is right-handed and anytime the Yankees can have their better lineup on the field is a good thing.
If the Yankees can take the first two games, they have an excellent chance in the last one. Jason Hammel, better known to Yankee fans as, "Jason Freakin' Hammel, has bamboozled the Yankees before. But he should be more than countered with Hiroki Kuroda, who has been amazing this season for the Yankees. Perhaps we are spoiled by Kuroda, but gosh, he has been awfully good.
I cannot see any scenario where the Yankees do not win this series and a sweep would seem to be logical. But that is why they play the games.
After a day off on Thursday, the Yankees travel to play the Tampa Bay Rays. To say that Tropicana Field has been a nightmare for the Yankees would be an understatement. Since the start of 2011, the Yankees are 6-15 there. The Yankees do not battle the shift well and seem to play tight when in that ballpark. And Joe Girardi also seems to try to match wits with supposed genius, Joe Maddon, and over-manages more there than anywhere else. It truly is a house of horrors for the team from the Bronx.
The first game would seem to give them a chance at least. David Phelps, who has been a revelation since joining the rotation, faces Ramon Hernandez. Hernandez might be the weakest link in the Rays' rotation. In case you are not familiar with him, he is the former Fausto Carmona. It was much more fun shouting, "Fausto!" The Yankees have a good chance in that game, again with their better lineup and behind a pitcher who has been on his game.
The pitchers are not announced after that. The Rays have announced Matt Moore for Saturday and that is definitely not good news. He is only 8-0 this season and the Rays have won all nine of his starts. He is also left-handed, which means a weaker lineup for the Yankees. It would seem that Sabathia would be back in line for this start as he followed Phelps this week.
Neither team has announced Sunday's pitching line. David Price is on the disabled list, so the Rays will have to have a spot starter there. And the Yankees will be without Andy Pettitte and will probably go with Vidal Nuno. It will be interesting to see the roster move the Yankees make if Joba Chamberlain comes back this week.
Again, this should be a fun and interesting week as playing the American League East rivals is always tension-packed and a good show. I am going to go out a little on a limb and predict a 4-2 week based on match-ups and the possibilities. The pitching will need to be good and maybe Reid Brignac and haunt his old team for a game or two. That would be fun.
As always, have a great week and enjoy watching New York Yankees baseball.