The New York Yankees started off their West Coast trip well, winning three out of four in Seattle by showcasing some good starting pitching and a shutdown bullpen.
With a day off on Monday, the Yankees will then head into Oakland to face a competitive Oakland Athletics team. The A’s are 38-27; they are just a half game behind the Texas Rangers and 11 games over .500 just like the Yanks. The Yankees showed that they could hold their own against good teams by sweeping Cleveland last week, and now they will have to prove it again.
The A’s will be putting out their best starter, former Yankee Bartolo Colon, on Tuesday night. Colon has pitched extremely well for the Athletics this season, going 7-2 with a 3.14 ERA, leading the rotation in both categories. His past four starts have been excellent, allowing just one run in 23 innings pitched.
The Yanks will counter with lefty C.C. Sabathia, hoping to get a third-straight solid start from the big man. In his previous start against Oakland this year, Sabathia earned a tough loss, though he pitched well despite not going deep. This time out, he will be looking to do both, though hopefully his complete game from last week has no lingering effects.
Wednesday night’s matchup will feature Phil Hughes against Dan Straily, who is in his first full year with Oakland. In a recent start, Straily struck out eight over six innings, using his slider to perfection.
Hughes is coming off an excellent start in Seattle, but still has yet to prove that he can be consistently effective; pitching against a tough Oakland team that likes to get on base could be a good way for Hughes to show this, especially since this Oakland team is not huge on the long ball.
Thursday’s series finale will be a good chance for Hiroki Kuroda to come out and dominate after earning a loss in his last start. He will be facing another young pitcher in Jarrod Parker, whose season has been very inconsistent, although his last two starts have been impressive and he has brought his record up to 5-6.
Offensively, this is a good opportunity for Robinson Cano and Vernon Wells to come out of their respective slumps, as Cano has good numbers this year against the team. Mark Teixeira could also warm up against the young Athletics pitchers after a cold series in Seattle.
The Yankees will have to be wary of A’s monsters like Yoenis Cespedes, who has 13 homers, and Josh Donaldson, who is batting .324 with an OBP of almost .400. But if the Yankees’ starting pitching can repeat its success from the Mariners series and the bullpen can continue to back them up, the Bombers’ offense has a chance against the young starters, who have been inconsistent this season.