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Look out for the Yankees base stealers: Oakland A's at New York Yankees series preview

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The Oakland Athletics visit Yankee Stadium for three games against the New York Yankees.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees hosted last year's AL Wild Card Game, finishing 87-75. At the start of this year, the FanGraphs CoolStandings playoff odds forecasted a third place finish for the Yankees with 82 wins. So far, the Yankees are running fourth in the east at 5-6, trailing the leading Orioles by three games.

For all the talk of the Yankees as big spenders, this offseason was a quiet one for the Bronx Bombers on the free agent front. Not one Yankee on their 40-man roster is a new free agent signing, with their most notable addition, second baseman Starlin Castro, acquired via trade from the Chicago Cubs.

The Yankees have been prodigious base stealers this year, leading baseball with 13. Jacoby Ellsbury leads with four stolen bases, followed by Chase Headley (3), Starlin Castro (2), Brett Gardner (2), Didi Gregorius (1), and Alex Rodriguez (1).

Otherwise at the plate, the Yankees have been a stars-and-scrubs lineup. Of the nine batters with at least 20 plate appearances, Mark Teixeira is 5th in wRC+ with a 148 (.216/.383/.459) thanks to his three home runs, but in sixth is Didi Gregorius at 62 (.222/.237/.361). New York's leading hitter is Brian McCann with a 196 wRC+ (.333/.444/.567). Alex Rodriguez

Probable pitching matchups and broadcast schedule

Every game is at 4:05 PM Pacific Time on CSN California.

Eric Surkamp gets the start on Tuesday after the A's flipped the rotation around a little bit to separate the left-handers. In Jesse Hahn news, a rainout pushed his start for the Nashville Sounds to Tuesday as well (first pitch at 5:35). Looking at the Sounds schedule, their first off day is April 27, which could make April 29 a convenient day to call up Hahn to face the Houston Astros at the Coliseum and figure out a fifth starter for Nashville.

Time (PT) TV Oakland New York
Tue. 4:05 PM CSNCA LHP Eric Surkamp (0-1, 4.00) RHP Michael Pineda (1-1, 6.55)
Wed. 4:05 PM CSNCA RHP Kendall Graveman (0-1, 2.38) RHP Nathan Eovaldi (0-1, 6.94)
Thu. 4:05 PM CSNCA LHP Rich Hill (1-2, 4.15) RHP Luis Severino (0-2, 5.91)

The A's miss Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia, the two Yankees pitchers off to the best starts.

Michael Pineda had problems with containing the Houston Astros in his first start, giving up three home runs in five innings and charged with six runs. His most recent start, against the Toronto Blue Jays, was an improvement, but he walked three batters and allowed three runs (two earned) in six innings.

Nathan Eovaldi has been racking up plenty of strikeouts with 15 in two starts, but he's also been allowing plenty of home runs. Two to Houston and two to Toronto have added up to nine runs in 11 2/3 innings for his 6.94 ERA.

Luis Severino was a revelation for the Yankees in last year's stretch drive, but he's been unable to finish the sixth inning in either of his two starts. Low strikeout totals (7 in 10 2/3 innings) mean he's relying on his defense, but it just hasn't worked out for Severino so far, as he has a .436 BABIP.

Bullpen

Aroldis Chapman remains suspended under baseball's Domestic Violence Policy until at least May 9, but the Yankees still have Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances. Thanks to those two and scoreless efforts from John Barbato and Chasen Shreve, the Yankees have the third-best ERA in the AL (2.36) and the best FIP by a large margin (1.49 vs. 2.62 Orioles in 2nd).

The back of the Yankees bullpen remains a work in progress, with Ivan Nova following four innings in long relief on April 6 with an inning giving up four runs on April 13. Kirby Yates has struck out six of the 15 batters he's faced, but he's also walked one and allowed two runs on four hits in 3 1/3 innings. Branden Pinder (no apparent relation to Chad) is waiting to make his 2016 debut, but he had a 2.93 ERA in 27 2/3 innings last year for the Yankees.

A's bullpen Recent usage (pitch count from www.rosterresource.com)
Player Hand IP ERA 18-Apr 17-Apr 16-Apr 15-Apr 14-Apr 13-Apr
Sean Doolittle L 5.2 6.35
O
F
F

D
A
Y
7 12
O
F
F

D
A
Y
Ryan Madson R 7.0 2.57 11 19
John Axford R 7.2 0.00 11 24
Liam Hendriks R 6.0 10.50 17
Marc Rzepczynski L 4.1 0.00 23 7
Ryan Dull R 7.1 0.00 16 15
Fernando Rodriguez R 8.0 1.13 25 22
Yankees bullpen Recent usage (pitch count from www.rosterresource.com)
Player Hand IP ERA 18-Apr 17-Apr 16-Apr 15-Apr 14-Apr 13-Apr
Andrew Miller L 5.0 0.00
O
F
F

D
A
Y
13 10
Dellin Betances R 6.0 0.00 13 19
Chasen Shreve L 4.1 0.00 12
Johnny Barbato R 6.0 0.00 21 23
Kirby Yates R 3.1 5.40 18 13
Branden Pinder R 0.0 -- 47
Ivan Nova R 5.0 7.20

Other notes

  • This is the start of a three-city road trip for the A's, the first of four three-city trips to complete visits to all eight of Oakland's Eastern Time Zone opponents. The A's face the NL Central in interleague play, but only travel to the Eastern Time Zone for one interleague series (Cincinnati). The Pirates visit the A's at the Coliseum July 1-3.

  • The A's will try to work on their defense as they enter this series with an AL-most 11 errors: