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Series Preview: New York Yankees vs New York Mets (7/20-7/22)

The Yankees enter the second half of the season with a 62-33 record, which has them slotted in second place in the AL East behind the Boston Red Sox who are currently 4.5 games ahead with a 68-30 record to this point in the season. Following last year’s close encounter with the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card game, the Yankees should definitely do their best to avoid the one game nightmare in this second half. The Yankees will begin this quest with a three game set against New York’s inferior team, the New York Mets. The Mets are currently sitting at the bottom of the NL East with a 39-55 record and the Yankees won two of the three meetings between the teams this season, signs which should indicate a Yankees’ series win. However, unfavorable pitching matchups could derail the Bronx Bombers in this Subway Series.

Sabathia forced to exit early, Yankees lose to Toronto 4-1

For the Bombers all was well early, as Sabathia looked good coming off the disabled list, but things quickly fell apart for the veteran during the third inning. Since May 16th Sabathia had the lowest ERA in the American League at a 0.99. However, after three weeks off, and no rehab starts the big lefty would not be long for today’s outing. In his last six starts C.C. was 5-0, but with two outs in the third, Sabathia was unable to find the strike zone.

AP Photo/ Kathy Willens

The light hitting Darwin Barney worked a walk in the third, and Jose Bautista singled on a line drive to right field, that scored Barney. Russell Martin who has been struggling as of late, singled on a ground ball to left field, and Josh Donaldson followed that with a walk. With the bases now loaded, Justin Smoak walked making the score 2-0. Sabathia received one last chance to work out of the inning, but Kendrys Morales singled on a sharp ground ball to left field that allowed Martin and Donaldson to score making it 4-0, and ending the day early for Sabathia. Adam Warren, who is also fresh off the disabled list, finished off the inning but the damage had been done.
J.A. Happ does not have overpowering stuff, but he is deceptive enough to keep batters off balance. During the fourth inning, All-Star outfielder Aaron Judge was able to get the Bombers on the board while hitting his 28th home run on the season. A 456 ft line drive to center field, the Yankees trailed 4-1 after four innings.

AP Photo/ Kathy Willens

Happ continued to cruise, but during the fifth inning Ronald Torreyes singled on a soft ground ball to the pitcher, that was deflected by third baseman Josh Donaldson. Brett Gardner was able to work a crucial walk, and with Happ at 87 pitches, Aaron Judge came to the plate with two on and two out. Unfortunately for the Bombers Judge struck out swinging to end the inning as they still trailed 4-1.

For the Bombers, Luis Cessa needed to give the Yankees some length, after the early exit by Sabathia and he did just that. Pitching four and two thirds innings, and allowing five hits and zero runs he kept the Yankees in the game, while saving the bullpen at the same time. While Cessa has been terrible as a replacement starter, perhaps he is better served out of the pen. But after today's outing, it is not out of the question that he might be sent down to Triple-A.

During the bottom of the sixth inning, a leadoff walk by Gary Sanchez gave the Yankees an early baserunner, but as Happ had done all game, he worked out of trouble. Through six complete innings, and 115 pitches Happ left with a 4-1 lead, and it was up to the Toronto bullpen to save or blow the game.

After two quick outs during the top of the seventh inning, a single by Bautista (a ball that was not caught at first by Chris Carter), and another single on a soft line drive to left field by Martin the Jays had two men on, and once again the Bombers had given a team an extra out. Cessa, in a pressure situation struck out Donaldson to end the inning.

The Yankees would fail to seriously threaten the Jays lead, and ultimately fell to Toronto by a final of 4-1.

AP Photo/ Kathy Willens
Tomorrow the Yankees close out the series against the Blue Jays 1:05 AM ET at the stadium. For the Bombers Michael Pineda (8-4, 4.05 ERA) takes the hill coming off a win in Houston. And for Toronto, Marco Estrada (4-6, 4.86 ERA) will take the mound looking for his first win since May 27th.

Winning Pitcher: J.A. Happ ( 3-5, 3.47 ERA) 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO
Losing Pitcher: C.C. Sabathia ( 7-3, 3.81 ERA) 2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, SO

Aaron Judge: 1-4, R, RBI (63), HR (28)
Gary Sanchez: 1-3, BB
Chase Headley: 1-4
Clint Frazier: 0-3
Brett Gardner: 0-3, BB

Article by: Randy Hancock