August 2, 2018
By The Pinstripe Empire
The New York Yankees are 68-38 and 5 1/2 games back in the AL East. This weekend, the archrival Boston Red Sox (75-34) come to town to wrap up the annual Subway Series. The Bombers are coming off of a bittersweet set agains the Baltimore Orioles that saw a complete-game shutout and a Sonny Gray disaster. While watching #TheRivalry, here are some things to keep an eye on:
J.A. Happ’s Hands, Feet, and Mouth
A week and a half after the Mets placed Noah Syndergaard on the DL with HFNM disease, newly acquired J.A. Happ came down with the same thing. While it is believed Happ became infected on his flight to New York after being traded, all trainers know is that he had some blisters on his hand and wasn’t feeling right. J.A. Happ has been placed on the 10-Day DL. His replacement, Luis Cessa, was only sent out to pitch one inning in his minor league appearance on Tuesday.
Special Sale on ticket Price
Every Yankee fan was ecstatic to hear that Red Sox Ace Chris Sale was placed on the DL with left shoulder inflammation. The Bombers will catch a break on Thursday, as Sale was scheduled to pitch opposite CC Sabathia. While Sale is only expected to miss this one start, it gives the Yankees much needed help in climbing back up the standings. On Sunday night, the Yankee-birther (is that the opposite of Yankee-killer?) David Price will take the hill for the Red Sox. Manager Alex Cora keeps giving Price chances to exorcise his Yankee demons. Price has a 6.14 ERA against the Yankees since joining the Red Sox in 2014, including a 24.92 ERA this season.
When it comes to the Yankees’ rotation, Luis Severino has been the only consistently dominant starter. That is, until a couple of weeks ago. In his first 18 starts this season, Severino went 13-2 with a 1.98 ERA. Since July 7th, however, Sevy has posted an 8.84 ERA to accompany a 1-2 record. It is believed internally that may be tipping his pitches to opponents, but they have yet to figure out how to overcome that. Against the Red Sox this season, Severino has two very different starts. In April, he allowed 5 earned runs in 5 IP. Just before entering his slump, the ace twirled 6.2 innings of two-hit magnificence. Which Severino will show up Friday for the Yankees? Hopefully it’s the Cy-Young Sevy.
Before the dust settled on the trade deadline madness, GM Brian Cashman made a pair of moves, seemingly staring at Boston while doing so. The first was a trade for 2x All-Star reliever Zach Britton. Aside from bolstering the best bullpen in baseball, Cashman brought Britton to New York so that he couldn’t be sent to Boston or Houston. This weekend, we will see how helpful it is to have Britton walk out of our dugout versus theirs.
The other “reliever” the Yankees traded for is Lance Lynn. Lynn has been mostly a starting pitcher his whole career, but made relief appearances early on in his career. He will take Adam Warren’s spot in the bullpen and possibly make spot starts if deemed necessary. The real reason the Yankees opted to bring Lynn in is because of how he deals with the men in Red. In 30 IP over 5 career starts against Boston, Lynn has pitched to a 1.80 ERA. And wouldn’t you know it, the only team he has pitched better against is the AL Central leading Cleveland Indians (0.75 ERA over 12 IP); the third best team he’s appeared against is the Houston Astros (1.89 ERA in 39 IP). Lynn checks all the boxes for the Yankees, and now it’s time to see him do what he came here to do.
Meanwhile, there are some other story lines to follow with the current bullpen arms. David Robertson is not having his greatest season; Houdini has been up and down all season. From June 5th to July 26th, Robertson allowed only two earned runs in 18 appearances (good for a 0.96 ERA during that stretch). However, he has allowed four earned runs in his last two appearances (18.00 ERA). While the Yankees will hope those were just potholes, Robertson will be looking to regain some speed against Boston (Robertson has not allowed a run to Boston in three appearances this season).
Similarly, A.J. Cole had found his stride with the Yankees after a disastrous beginning with the Nationals. Until Tuesday’s appearance against the Orioles, Cole had owned a 0.83 ERA in 21.2 IP in Pinstripes. He allowed two earned runs in that appearance, but has been nothing short of (unexpectedly) spectacular for the Yankees. Thus far, manager Aaron Boone has not trusted Cole with a relief appearance against the Red Sox, but Cole might earn his stripes this weekend if given the opportunity.
When all is said and done, the Yankees will be anywhere from 1.5 games back in the division race to as many as 9.5 games back. If I were a betting man, I’d say the Yankees split the series, but both teams are hoping for more than that. The Yankees have been the best in the league against teams with winning records (0.649), but Boston is right behind them (0.623). The difference has been their records against bad teams, where the Yankees are 10th in the league and Boston is 1st. None of that will matter this weekend, as each game will be it’s own roller coaster.
Thursday: CC Sabathia (3.53 ERA) vs. Brian Johnson (3.45 ERA)
Friday: Luis Severino (2.94 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (4.03 ERA)
Saturday: Luis Cessa (3.10 ERA) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (3.80 ERA)
Sunday: Masahiro Tanka (3.84 ERA) vs. David Price (3.94 ERA)
Andre: New York Yankees OVER 2.5 Extra Base Hits.
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Our Statementgames.com Picks for 8/2:
Joe: CC Sabathia UNDER 2.5 Earned Runs
Matt: Total Runs UNDER 10.5
Desi: New York Yankees UNDER 4.5 Runs
Andre: Andrew Benintendi OVER 0.5 Hits
Our Statementgames.com Season Scoreboard: