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Series #13: Athletics at Yankees - Leaving the West Behind

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MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Yankees’ Current Record:

26-11, tied for the best record in the MLB with the Red Sox, but playing better than Boston of late, going 8-2 over their last ten games.

Possible Lineup:

LF - Brett Gardner

RF - Aaron Judge

SS - Didi Gregorius

DH - Giancarlo Stanton

C - Gary Sanchez

CF - Aaron Hicks

3B - Miguel Andujar

1B - Neil Walker

2B - Gleyber Torres

Probable Starting Pitchers:

Sonny Gray

Domingo German

Luis Severino

Recent Bullpen Usage:

The incredibly dominant Yankees bullpen, by design, has been used fairly extensively over the last three games, but no pitcher has pitched on three straight days and some pitchers, like former prospect A.J. Cole, haven’t been used at all and are fully rested.

Hottest Hitter(s):

The Yankees have above average offense at just about every position, Brett Gardner in left field being the lone exception. However, Brett Gardner is still one of four regulars to have an OPS of over 1.000 over the last six games the Yankees have played, knocking two home runs and wreaking havoc on the basepaths.

Coldest Hitter(s):

After his incredible start to the season, over the last week Didi Gregorius’ offense has come to a screeching halt. The shortstop has gone hitless in his last twenty four at bats, only reaching base twice on walks. Because his start was so strong, Didi is still hitting .280/.369/.598 on the season.

Hottest Pitcher(s):

On the starting side of things, the young Luis Severino is showing that he’ll be a star for years and years so long as he can stay healthy, with some of the filthiest pitches in the game. C.C. Sabathia is pitching like it’s the mid-aughts again, even if his velocity isn’t quite there anymore, and has been spectacular in what may be one of his final seasons. Both starters have ERA’s below 2.30 and with better than 5:1 K/BB ratios. In the bullpen, David Robertson has been heavily used and highly effective, and not-good-human Aroldis Chapman is continuing to throw super hard and get guys out.

Coldest Pitcher(s):

Sonny Gray has not been living up to his legacy as the ace of the A’s for many years, as his stuff has been there but his location has not. Gray has an ERA of 6.00 in seven starts and has twenty one walks to thirty strikeouts. Masahiro Tanaka has been heavily victimized by the long ball and has given up eight home runs in eight starts. Dellin Betances has been the sole weak link in an otherwise strong bullpen, and although he strikes out nearly two batters per inning, his ERA sits at above 5.60.

Key Injuries:

Greg Bird got injured in the preseason and can now be given the label of “good, but injured too often to be useful” that was stuck with Jed Lowrie for so many years. Otherwise, apart from a few relievers the team has stayed mostly healthy and is at relatively full strength on the field.

* * *

After getting swept at home by the Astros, the A’s finally get to say goodbye to AL West competition for a little while. Against the inarguably strongest division in the game this year, the A’s have gone a paltry 9-17, and only possess a winning record against the faltering Rangers. For what it’s worth, the A’s have gone 9-2 when going outside their division, and that isn’t just a product of facing the goombas of the other divisions. However, with a long road trip going up against the strongest teams in the AL East, this will be the biggest challenge yet for the young squad.

The Yankees were already expected to be competing for the best record in the MLB at the start of the offseason, and then managed to get even better with the trade for Giancarlo Stanton. The team hasn’t disappointed to start the year, and lately have looked to be nearly unstoppable. They have scored the most runs in all of baseball with 213, featuring a multi-faceted lineup that can do damage in several different ways, as well as a pitching staff that has gotten the second-most strikeouts in the MLB.

Game #38: Friday, May 11th at 4:05 PM - NBCSCA, YES, MLBN, MLB.tv

TBD vs Sonny Gray

The much beloved Sonny Gray will be making a start against the organization that drafted and developed him. His time in New York thus far has been mediocre and highly criticized. Going up against Gray has yet to be determined as of this writing, with Kendall Graveman and Chris Bassitt among those being considered for the call up from Nashville.

Game #39: Saturday, May 12th at 10:05 AM - NBCSCA, YES, MLBN, MLB.tv

Andrew Triggs vs Domingo German

Andrew Triggs appears to be re-righting the ship on the mound, and played a big role in the A’s strikeout-record-setting series against the Baltimore Orioles in his last start when he struck out nine in seven innings. German is making his second major league start, though he has yet to give up any hits at the big league level, throwing six hitless innings in his big league debut.

Game #40: Sunday, May 13th at 10:05 AM - NBCSCA, YES, MLB.tv

Brett Anderson vs Luis Severino

Anderson Jekyll and Hyde’d in his first two starts with the organization he made his debut with, pitching nearly seven strong innings in his first outing and being removed in fourth before he could record an out in his second. The version of Anderson appearing on the mound on Sunday is a total mystery. The A’s lineup will have their toughest test of their roadtrip on Sunday going up against the electric arm of Luis Severino.