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Bullpen Day Thrives, Yanks top Rays 4-1

Entering the last week of the regular season the Yankees opened a four-game set Monday night in the always dreaded trip to face the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yankees came into tonight sitting one and a half games (two in the loss column) above the Oakland A’s for home field advantage in the AL Wild Card game. Aaron Boone decided to go with a “bullpen day” tonight instead of giving the ball to a typical starter.

Series Preview: New York Yankees vs. Oakland Athletics (9/3-9/5)


Series Preview: New York Yankees vs Oakland Athletics (9-3/9-5)
                    
There’s no Labor Day rest for the Yankees (and no rest for the fans, let’s get ready for a few bleary-eyed weekday mornings after two games with 10pm starts), as they head over to the West Coast to face the Oakland Athletics, following a seven-game home stand. Only rest for Aaron Boone, who will be fresh off his one-game suspension after being ejected on August 31st. The Yankees and the Athletics met only once over the course of the 2018 season so far, and this meeting is far more important than the three-game series that the two teams met for in May. The series was described by YES’ own Michael Kay, during the broadcast of the September 2nd game versus the Tigers, as one of the “biggest of the year.” It’s a potential preview of the A.L. Wild Card Game, with the Yankees 7.5 games behind the first place Red Sox in the A.L. East, and the Athletics 1.5 games behind the first place, defending World Series champion, Houston Astros in the West.
Photo Credit: Google Images
Game One: Monday, September 3rd at 4:05 on YES and ESPN
CC Sabathia (7-5, 3.36 ERA) vs Trevor Cahill (5-3, 3.60 ERA)

In CC Sabathia’s previous start, only his second start since his recent stint on the D.L., the Yankees lost; however, Sabathia deserved to win. He’s only picked up one win in his last five starts, but those outcomes aren’t due to his incompetence or even his injuries, as he’s only allowed eight runs in 26.2 IP (2.75 ERA). He has yet to face the Athletics this season. When he’s been healthy, Sabathia has been solid, and is known for his pitching in big-stage games. And in September, in a postseason race, every game is important.
Photo Credit: Neil Miller/NYSD
The Athletics are sending Trevor Cahill out to the mound for a Labor Day start. In his previous start versus the Athletics’ division rivals in Houston, his loss came after only 3.1 IP, allowing five hits. On August 23rd versus the Twins, Cahill allowed eight hits after 5.0 IP. He has yet to face the Yankees this season; however, his only appearance against the Yankees in 2017 came on the final game of his then-team, the Kansas City Royals’, regular season. That game resulted in a 11-3 win for the Yankees, and Cahill appeared in relief. While it’s difficult to predict how the Yankees’ offense will fair against Cahill as a starter, in that last game of 2017, he allowed four hits over less than a full inning pitched.


Game Two: Tuesday, September 4th at 10:05 on YES and MLBN
J.A. Happ (15-6, 4.00 ERA) vs TBD

Prior to his last start, J.A. Happ had been on a hot streak. In his first five starts with the Yankees, he earned the W all five times. However, this start will be a shot at redemption for Happ, as in his previous start versus the Tigers, he allowed ten hits in just 4.1 IP. Three of those ten hits were home runs. He has yet to face Oakland during the 2018 season, with neither the Blue Jays nor the Yankees.
Photo Credit: Paul Bereswill
The Athletics have yet to announce a pitcher for Game Two, and apparently, it’s no secret that nailing down a starting rotation has been a bone of contention for this team. Based on the rotations of the previous games, and who has pitched and needs rest, the starter for this game wouldn’t be Edwin Jackson, as he pitched on September 2nd. Were he not optioned back to the Athletics’ AAA affiliate, the Nashville Sounds, on August 31st, the likely starter could be Frankie Montas. His last start was on August 30th, which would have allowed him four days rest.

Game Three: Wednesday, September 5th at 10:05 on YES
Luis Severino (17-6, 3.32 ERA) vs Mike Fiers (10-6, 3.38 ERA)

The Yankees need Luis Severino, and they need him performing at top Severino form from now until the postseason. While his two most recent starts, versus the Orioles and the Tigers, have looked more Severino-like, every game matters in a postseason race in September -- and that goes double for Severino as the Yankees’ ace starter. And while he still got the W in his last appearance, he allowed six hits on 6.0 IP, which is still not the ace Severino we’ve come to know, love and depend on. Fans are regaining faith in our ace; however, we’d like to have a bit of insurance when it’s so close to call, and this is Severino’s first opportunity to do just that.
Photo Credit: Abby Parr/Getty Images
With Mike Fiers on the mound for the Athletics, this game promises to be a pitchers’ duel. Fiers won three of his first five starts with the Athletics, and was not charged with the loss in the other two (the Athletics, however, won all five games with a Fiers start). His most recent start versus the Mariners was unusual, as over 3.2 IP he allowed seven hits and five runs. But, that’s not to say that Fiers isn’t a pitcher to be weary of. On August 25th versus the Twins, he surrendered just one run in 5.2 IP, and on August 20th versus the Rangers, he permitted only one hit and no runs in 7.0 IP. Fiers is also the one Athletics starting pitcher (so far) appearing in this series who has faced the Yankees this season, with his former team, the Tigers. The Yankees took the W on their first meeting on April 13th, but the Tigers, and Fiers, prevailed on June 4th.
Photo Credit: Thearon Henderson/Getty Images
Players to Watch For:
Yankees:
Luke Voit: Voit is adroit, folks. With another home run against the Tigers on September 2nd, he brings his home run total to five since his 2018 trade deadline acquisition by the Yankees. Especially with the recent Greg Bird slump, and the continued D.L. status of Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius, Voit has been a great offensive addition for the Yankees, and it will be fun to watch him for the remainder of the season. This series will mark his first West Coast road trip with the Yankees.
Photo Credit: Associated Press
Athletics:
Matt Chapman: Chapman has been hot, at least over his last seven games -- over which he’s hit four home runs in 30 at-bats, and is hitting a solid .300 with five RBIs and an OBP of .344. He also hit one out of the park in the last meeting between the Yankees and the Athletics, and has hit a consistent .279 over the course of the 2018 season.

Article by: Mary Grace Donaldson
 

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