The New York Yankees (53-35) get to hop back into action right away tonight when they head north of the border to face off against the Toronto Blue Jays (53-35). Hopefully the New York Yankees are nice and rested – especially with a few key members of the team not making the All-Star team, not eligible to play or pulling out of the festivities altogether. Mid-season rest isn’t what I’m really concerned about though. With Alex Rodriguez out for the next 4-6 weeks, the New York Yankees are going to have to dig a little deeper to make up for his absence. As I said last week, if the New York Yankees are a championship contender, they will find a way to grind through this stretch and stay towards the top of the playoff mix until Alex Rodriguez makes it back. We’ve all talked about it, but now its time for the New York Yankees to walk the walk.
Bartolo Colon (6-4, 3.20) vs. Jo-Jo Reyes (4-7, 4.57)
Bartolo Colon will look to rebound after a rough outing against the Tampa Bay Rays. The last time the Yankees saw Jo-Jo Reyes, he was mired in a crazy stretch of starts without recording a victory. He’s had some luck since then, but hopefully the Yankees can tee him up.
Freddy Garcia (7-6, 3.13) vs. Brandon Morrow (5-4, 4.60)
It will be interesting to see how the extended rest impacts Freddy Garcia. Hopefully he avoids hanging too many curves to Jose Bautista. Brandon Morrow is filthy and looked like he was on the verge of turning the corner after a strong finish to 2010. That has not happened, but watch him dominate the Yankees. Typical bullsh*t.
CC Sabathia (13-4, 2.72) vs. Ricky Romero (7-8, 3.09)
CC Sabathia has been on a roll. Hopefully it doesn’t take him long to get back into form after his little Bahamas getaway. Ricky Romero enjoyed his first All-Star appearance and here’s to hoping that the Yankee bats are open to treating him to a rude return to the regular season.
Phil Hughes (0-2, 10.57) vs. Carlos Villanueva (5-1, 2.99)
Phil Hughes wasn’t great in his first start back from injury, but he was a lot better than he was in April. It’s a start. Carlos Villanueva shut the Yankees down in his first appearance against them but should have worse luck this time around.
What to Watch
- Robinson Cano – What type of effect will his Home Run Derby appearance have on his second half. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it helps him catch fire and get in one of his unstoppable zones from now through early November.
- Rested Yankees – Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia and Derek Jeter among others got to get away from baseball for a few days. Hopefully they will have had a chance to clear their heads and will be ready to clinch their playoff berth.
- Phil Hughes – Still going to be watching the velocity and the pitchability – even if the former returns, the latter needs to improve.
- Jose Bautista – I hate having to play this guy. Please keep everything middle-away.
The way Sabathia was pitching heading into the break, I may just start calling wins on every one of his starts (that is what an ace is expected to do, but he’s taken it to another level lately). Overall, I think the Yankees should have enough offense to handle the guys that are being thrown at them. Morrow will be tough, but he’s not pitching well this year. Romero will also be tough, but he’s got the unenviable task of out-dueling Sabathia. I’m going to say that the Yankees are able to take three out of four and get the second half off to a good start. I have to make this prediction under the assumption that Bartolo Colon and Freddy Garcia will maintain their first half form, but until they show me otherwise I have no reason to assume anything different.
The Boston Red Sox (55-35) hit the road and take on the Tampa Bay Rays (49-41). If I remember my facts correctly, the Rays have to play the Yankees and Red Sox 30 times in the second half….that sucks.
Season Series vs. Blue Jays