Series Preview: Milwaukee Brewers vs New York Yankees

In the final series before the All-Star break, the Yankees will take on the NL Central leading Brewers from Yankee Stadium, and will look to rebound from yet another disappointing series. The Brewers on the other hand are winners of four in a row, and have been one of the most surprising teams in baseball this season, taking advantage of the weak division they are in. The Brewers will look to continue their success against a Yankee team that has lost seven consecutive series dating back to June 11th.   
Photo Credit: AP Kathy Willens

 Game One: (Friday, July 7th | First Pitch: 7:05 PM ET)
 Junior Guerra (1-3, 4.93 ERA) vs. Jordan Montgomery (6-4, 3.62 ERA)

Jordan Montgomery will attempt to be the first Yankee starter to make it into the fifth inning since Tanaka did so on Monday, as the bullpen has been atrocious of late and blowing games at an alarming rate. Montgomery should have no problem giving the bullpen a break, as he has gone into the sixth inning or later in each of his last six starts. The 24-year-old out of South Carolina has had a pleasantly surprising rookie season, and would be getting some rookie of the year consideration if it wasn’t for his teammate Aaron Judge.

The Brewers will send Junior Guerra to the mound on Friday night, as he will be looking to change his fortunes, as he has gotten lit up his last two starts. Guerra has given up 16 hits and 12 runs in just eight innings in those two games, including five home runs surrendered. Guerra was pitching well before his recent two outings, as he had an ERA of 3.11 in his previous seven starts. The Yanks should come out on top in this one, as they have won their last four series openers.

Game Two: (Saturday, July 8th | First Pitch: 1:05 PM ET)
Brent Suter (1-1, 3.00 ERA) vs Luis Severino (5-4, 3.52 ERA)

Luis Severino will get the ball Saturday afternoon, as the first time All-Star will hope he can deliver a better display than he did in his last outing vs Houston. Severino has looked dominant in several of his starts this season, yet he has also shown his 2016 form at times, which is problematic for the only 2017 All-Star in this starting rotation. Look for Severino to have the strikeout pitch going, as he has registered at least five K’s in each of his last nine starts.

Brent Suter will get the ball for Milwaukee, who will only be making his fifth career start, and his third start of the season. Suter threw a gem in his previous start vs the Orioles, throwing six innings without allowing an earned run and striking out eight.

Photo Credit: AP David J. Phillip

Game Three: (Sunday, July 9th | First Pitch: 1:05 PM ET)
Jimmy Nelson (7-4, 3.20 ERA) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (7-7, 5.25 ERA)

Masahiro Tanaka appears to be revitalized in his last three starts, yet his ERA is still well over five and he has a long way to go if he wants to win back the trust of Yankee fans and staff members alike. The key to Tanaka over his last three starts has been the home run ball, and the fact that he has not given one up after giving up 21 in his previous 14 starts. The Yankees have won three in a row when Tanaka is on the mound, and they certainly hope that continues, as they have dropped their last seven series finales.

Jimmy Nelson will close out the series for the Brewers, as this should be the toughest pitching matchup the Yanks will face this series. Nelson had a rough start to the season, but has posted a 2.64 ERA since the start of May. The Brewers have also won five of the last six games in which Nelson has pitched.

Yankee Players to Watch:

Adam Warren:
It is difficult to even begin to describe what has happened to Dellin Betances and Arolids Chapman, who have both looked nothing like themselves as of late. Yet, since coming off the disabled list earlier in the week, Adam Warren has been great, and despite the small sample size, has retired all six batters he has faced. Warren may be the most reliable arm out of the Yankee bullpen as of now, and don’t be surprised if Girardi elects to go with Warren in a high leverage situation over Betances at some point this weekend.

Aaron Judge:
It is also difficult to pick a Yankee player to watch in one of these series previews without mentioning the man who is closing in on an MVP trophy in July. Judge went five games without a home run until hitting one in each of the last two games, and one that left a serious dent. Judge continues to be the best hitter in baseball this season, holding a firm grip on the home run lead and currently owning an absurd .449 on base percentage, also best in baseball. Judge will have one more series to try and hit balls out of Yankee Stadium before he heads to Miami, where all eyes will be on him for the Home Run Derby and All-Star game.

Photo Credit: AP Kathy Willens

 Brewers Players to Watch:
Eric Thames:
The power surge Eric Thames has been on is one of the most unique and fascinating stories of the baseball season, as he has been the anchor in the Brewers lineup. Thames spent his last few years playing baseball in South Korea, hitting well over .300 and hitting over 35 home runs in all three seasons and becoming a sporting legend in the country. Thames now has 23 home runs this season back in the MLB, which is tied for third in the NL. Thames will be a threat to go deep all weekend long, as he has gone deep three times in his last three games.

Travis Shaw:
Former Red Sox Travis Shaw has gotten quite comfortable in his new home, as he is having his best season of his young career so far. Shaw is currently hitting .296 with 18 homers and 61 RBIs, and leads the Brewers in several offensive categories and has also cut down on his strikeouts this season. 

The Yankees desperately need the All-Star Break to arrive, but what they need even more is to win a series and more importantly, win two games in a row. It has been strange to watch a team exceed expectations to have a mid-season meltdown, yet here we are, and the Yankees should feel fortunate that they still find themselves securely in a playoff spot.

Article by: Matt Luzzi



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