A’s @ Yankees Series PreviewPosted: July 22, 2011
I would call the Yankees most recent road trip a success seeing as though they started it off by getting completely blown out in the first two games. Now they return home to face the Oakland Athletics in a three game set. The A’s come into this series at 43-55 and 12.5 games back in the American League West. They have been playing pretty well lately though, winning four of their last six since the All-Star Break.
Oakland is not very good offense to put it bluntly. They rank among the league’s worst in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, wRC+, wOBA, homers, and ISO. This being said, the Yanks should really look to get on the board early and put them in an early hole. This would essentially put the game out of reach. Here’s a projected lineup:
- Coco Crisp, CF
- Cliff Pennington, SS
- Josh Willingham, LF
- Hideki Matsui, DH
- Conor Jackson, 3B
- Kurt Suzuki, C
- David DeJesus, RF
- Landon Powell, 1B
- Eric Sogard, 2B
As bad as the A’s offense is, they have a very good starting rotation. They rank in the top 5 in the AL in ERA, FIP, xFIP, homers allowed per nine innings, and wins. We will see two of the guys who have made the rotation so good this weekend in Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez, two guys the Bombers beat earlier this season. Let’s take a look at the pitching match-ups:
Trevor Cahill (8-8, 3.16 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (1-2, 8.44 ERA)
Rich Harden (1-1, 5.00 ERA) vs. AJ Burnett (8-7, 4.19 ERA)
Gio Gonzalez (9-6, 2.33 ERA) vs. Bartolo Colon (6-6, 3.34 ERA)
The A’s also have a very good bullpen. The group has combined to pitch to a 2.93 ERA (best in the AL), a 3.28 FIP and they strike out almost eight per nine innings, but do walk almost our per nine. Even though the pen is good, the Yankees should still try to get the strong starters out of the game as early as possible and make the relievers work. Andrew Bailey, the closer, Brad Ziegler, Grant Balfour, Joey Devine, Michael Wuertz, and lefty David Purcey are all guys who can throw the ball well.
Two things to look out for in this series is if Phil Hughes pitches well on his first time pitching on five days rest in the bigs since April and if the bats awake because they were very quiet in Tampa. I’ll say that the Bombers take two out of three to start this long home stand.