The last time I wrote a weekly forecast for the Yankees, maybe a month or so ago, the feel was optimistic. They had a week full of unspectacular pitchers to look forward to, and they took advantage of each one of them. This next week will be a bit different.
On tap the Yankees will face Seattle then Baltimore, before heading to Minnesota – all while clinging to a 3.5-game lead on the Tampa Bay Rays and a 4-game difference over the Baltimore Orioles. They’ll all be coming out with guns blazing, showcasing their best pitching talent.
Friday, July 17th vs Seattle – Masahiro Tanaka (5-3, 3.63 ERA) vs Mike Montgomery (4-3, 2.29 ERA)
Montgomery has been solid since the Yankees last saw him make his Major League debut June 2nd. A 2.62 K:BB ratio is nothing to shake fist at, and his HR/FB rate (5.4%) is encouraging – especially as he enters Yankee Stadium. Limited walks combined with a low tendency to allow home runs makes this a difficult matchup for the Yankees on paper, especially since they’ve hit lefties worse this season (.242 BA vs. .259). For Tanaka, this is a prime chance to build some momentum. He was solid his last time out in a win against the A’s on the 9th, and he’ll look to string together three straight starts with three or fewer runs allowed, after allowing 11 over two straight to end June.
Saturday, July 18th vs Seattle – Michael Pineda (9-5) vs Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 5.22 ERA)
Ah, always nice to have Michael Pineda throw against the Mariners. He might even get to face Jesus Montero, who the Yankees traded for him! That would be fun. If I had to guess, I’d say Montero homers to right off of him.
Don’t let the numbers fool you, Iwakuma can throw. He had a few brutal outings before going on the DL in April,and struggled in his return on July 6th. He then went out and impressed against the Angels, throwing eight scoreless innings with 6 K’s, and just three hits allowed. The crafty 35 year-old was very dependable last year and should give the Yankees trouble.
Sunday, July 19th vs Seattle – C.C. Sabathia (4-8, 5.47 ERA) vs Felix Hernandez (11-5, 2.84 ERA)
I will say this – it would not surprise me to see C.C. have a decent outing against the Mariners’ offense, who don’t scare many pitchers. That said, the Yankees used up their get-to-king-felix-for-a-million-runs card already so I think we can safely say King Felix will be King Felix.
Tuesday, July 21st vs Baltimore – Nate Eovaldi (9-2, 4.50 ERA) vs Wei-Yin Chen (4-5, 2.78 ERA)
Eovaldi is a different guy at Yankee Stadium, with a .273 BAA and 3.72 ERA in 8 home starts. He’ll need to be on, as runs should be at a premium in this game. Chen’s 3.60 K:BB is nice, and he’s gone at least seven innings in four of his last five starts (went eight three times). He will hang around and is another guy who limits walks, with just a 5.7% rate. That’s big against the Yankees, who eat pitchers alive by taking lots of pitches outside the zone. and working counts. Continue reading Looking Ahead to the Yankees’ First Week Back