The Yankees have had a miserable go of things over the past couple of weeks. This week, however, it looks like the sun is shining down on them. As it turns out, the toughest pitcher they were to face all week was a Mr. Felix Hernandez. They handled him with ease. Now comes the fun part. A week like this one, filled with hittable scheduled starters, could help the team gain some much-needed steam as they head down the east coast to play the Nationals and Orioles.
Tuesday, June 2nd @ Seattle: CC Sabathia (2-7) vs. Mike Montgomery (0-0)
Look, Mike Montgomery was a first-round pick of the Royals back in 2008, and at 25 is finally making his big league debut. He's not as highly-touted a prospect as he once was, but that's not to say he's not a good pitcher. He's 4-3 with a 3.74 ERA in 53 innings over nine starts for Triple-A Tacoma this season. I don't expect him to dazzle the Yankees, and considering what took place last night, I'd give them a good shot at winning.
Wednesday, June 3rd @ Seattle: #TANAK (2-1) vs. Taijuan Walker (2-5)
Walker has been a wreck this season, posting a 6.18 ERA over 10 starts. That said, he threw eight shutout innings against the Indians his last time out. Much like Montgomery, I won't lock the Yankees into a win, but I like their chances. Walker is good, but he had too many control issues just a week ago to make me buy in.
Friday, June 5th vs. LA Angels: Nathan Eovaldi (4-1) vs. Jered Weaver (4-4)
The Yankees return home to the hitter-friendly Yankee Stadium to face Jered Weaver, who's Home Run to Fly Ball ratio is a tasty 10.6% (his previous career high was 8.9%, last season). I think Teixeira takes him yard. The Yankees should hit many baseballs.
Saturday, June 6th vs. LA Angels: Adam Warren (3-4) vs. Matt Shoemaker (3-4)
Advantage Yankees yet again. Matt Shoemaker's ERA is 5.08, he's giving up over 2 Home Runs per nine innings, and his HR/FB ratio is...wait for it...17.8%! Wow. The Yankees should have a nice offensive day here as well. Maybe even Stephen Drew picks up a couple of hits.
Sunday, June 7th vs LA Angels: Michael Pineda (7-2) vs. Garrett Richards (5-3)
The Yankees' toughest tests come at the beginning and end of the week, though thankfully they also come with their hottest pitcher on the mound. Richards rides in striking out over seven batters per nine with a comfortable 3.26 ERA. That said, he's surrendered 11 ER in his last three starts over 18.2 IP. He's in a bit of a cold streak, but hitters are still just .213 against him. This one won't come easy.
This week is looking up. The rain in the northeast appears to be letting up, the Yankees have pitchers lined up which they can take advantage of, and they're atop the AL East by a game. That lead could expand come next Sunday, and we could be looking at a team with more swagger. All they need to do is capitalize on what's in front of them.