The Yankees continue their trip up the west coast after losing 2 out of 3 against potential wild card opponent, the Oakland A’s. They head north to Seattle for another 3 game set over the weekend against a Mariner team who needs to get hot right now to make a last gasp effort at the playoffs. The Yankees have gone 4-6 in their last 10, and continue to battle through injury, and inconsistency at the plate, on the mound, and in the field. It’s important that the Yankees win at least 4 of the next 6 to come out the road trip feeling good about themselves.
GAME ONE: Friday @ 10:10 PM
Masahiro Tanaka (10-5, 3.83 ERA) vs James Paxton (11-5, 3.74 ERA)
Game one will pair two very good pitchers against each other. Tanaka has been making a case for wild card starter as Luis Severino continues to struggle. Tanaka has had a great career against Seattle, winning all but one start, and going 6-0 with a 2.34 ERA. Paxton has been an ace for Seattle this year, but has also battled injuries. After getting some Cy Young considerations early in the year, injuries have hurt his chances. He had a stellar start against Oakland last time out, striking out 10 batters. Look for Giancarlo Stanton to possibly get back on track with a favorable matchup against a lefty.
GAME TWO: Saturday @ 9:10 PM
Lance Lynn (8-10, 5.10 ERA) vs Felix Hernandez (8-13, 5.55 ERA)
In another late night showdown, the struggling Lance Lynn faces a struggling Felix Hernandez. Lynn got off to a hot start with the Yankees, but has fallen off in a big way since then. In his last four starts his ERA has been higher than 9. He was shelled by the Tigers his last time out and caught the loss. For Seattle, it’s former ace King Felix on the mound. He has had an awful year compared to his usual standards, and there have been rumors that he may lose his spot in the rotation. Felix had a good start against the Yankees in June, giving up 1 run in 5 innings. The way these pitchers have pitched recently, this game could be very high scoring.
GAME THREE: Sunday @ 4 PM
CC Sabathia (7-6, 3.54 ERA) vs TBD
CC will lead the Yankees for the series finale Sunday, trying to bounce back from a bad start against Oakland. He allowed five runs in 3 and a third innings, and the Yankee bats never got anything going, thus giving him the loss. CC has been stellar this season, and one bad start against a good lineup is not a reason to panic. He’ll be eager to turn things around before the Yankees get back on the road to face Minnesota.
We’re about a month away from one of best (or worst) days in sports for Yankee fans. Wild Card game. Barring a miracle, they aren’t going to catch the Red Sox, and if the Yankees can keep things afloat, they’ll face Oakland in the Bronx in the Wild Card for the right to a best of 5 game set with Boston. Although watching the Yankees right now can be frustrating because they may not be playing how they are expected, it will not matter one month from now when it’s do or die. Throw whatever their record is out the window, whether its 105 wins or 95 wins, the only thing that’ll matter is the next 9 innings. The next month should determine who will start that game, what bullpen arms will be chosen first in that game, and what bats belong in the lineup for that game, no matter who the pitcher is.