It is time for another sweep!
For the second time in about a week, the A’s and the Yankees will be playing each other for three games. This round, the games will be in New York.
Of course, the games being in New York spells trouble for many on the A’s pitching staff. The staff is generally so reliant on generating fly balls and pop ups that the bandbox that is Yankee Stadium is just about the worst place for them to pitch. It doesn’t help that the Yankees’ lineup has power from top to bottom. The games in New York also mean that the Oakland fanbase will get to hear a whole lot about last years’ Wild Card game, which everyone knows will be enjoyable for all.
The A’s sweep of the Yankees came as a bit of a shock to the team and fans in New York, given that the Yankees were then set to face the Dodgers and Mariners later in the week. Since the Yankees were in an 0-3 hole, it was going to take a big effort to salvage the road trip and make it a positive. Fortunately for the Yankees, the team won big twice in LA while losing a squeaker, and then handily swept the hapless Mariners to finish the trip 5-4. They enter this series having won for games in a row.
Meanwhile, the A’s had to deal with a shocking, surprise sweep of their own as the bullpen bungled away back to back games against the San Francisco Giants, but the A’s recovered nicely against the also hapless Royals. Both teams enter this series in healthy positions but both have an underlying need to win. The A’s are just ahead of the Rays in the Wild Card standings, and the Yankees are in a competition for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. A bad series won’t sink either team, but could be more demoralizing than anything else.
Starting with his series against the A’s last week, Mike Ford has been on fire recently. The fringe first baseman who was hitting below the Mendoza line coming into Oakland last week has now slashed .412/.444/1.235 over the last week, with four home runs over his last six games. Ford’s breakout, if sustained, can potentially force some important decisions at first base for the Yankees. Aaron Judge has been on fire as well, hitting five home runs in the last week. After a season marred with injury, in the final month, Judge may finally be healthy and ready to pick up where he left off last year. A healthy Judge may make a bigger difference to the Yankees’ lineup than any other individual, save for Giancarlo Stanton, who is still on the mend.
For all the injuries the Yankees have dealt with, it makes their AL leading record all the more impressive. The team that the A’s are taking on now may look very different from the team the A’s may play in October, even with the playoffs just over a month away. However, with another decisive series victory, the A’s can send a signal that it doesn’t matter who they are playing in October, and that whomever they face should be quaking in their cleats.
DJ LeMahieu - 3B
Aaron Judge - RF
Gleyber Torres - 2B
Didi Gregorius - SS
Gary Sanchez - DH
Luke Voit - 1B
Brett Gardner - CF
Austin Romine - C
Mike Tauchman - LF
Brett Anderson vs CC Sabathia
Homer Bailey vs Domingo German
Mike Fiers vs J.A. Happ
Game #135: Friday, August 30th at 4:05
Game #136: Saturday, August 31st at 10:05
Game #137: Sunday, September 1st at 10:05
All games will be broadcast on NBCSCA. Games #135-6 will be on MLB Network for those who are out of market. Game #137 will also be broadcast on TBS.