Weekly Preview: PHI @ NYY 8/3 – 8/4; NYY @ PHI 8/5 – 8/6; NYY @ TB 8/7 – 8/9

It’s time for a do-over.

Photo credit: Hamlet Hub

Following the postponement of the Yanks’ series against the Phillies last week, the Phillies have now been cleared to resume play, and they’re heading for the Bronx on Monday.  While two members of the Phillies’ staff have tested positive for COVID-19, the active roster is good to go.

On the heels of a fantastic series against the Red Sox, the Yankees are going into Philly with the best record in the American League.  Gary Sanchez finally put the bat on the ball.  Aaron Judge just hit six home runs in five games.  The MLB debut of newcomer Nick Nelson was nothing short of encouraging.  Aroldis Chapman has recovered from COVID-19.  Gio Urshela and Luke Voit each hit their first career grand slams the past week.  Of course, the thrill of seeing Gerrit Cole in a Yankees uniform has yet to wear off and probably won’t for some time --  knowing we’re going to see him again has me excited for Monday’s game already.

In addition, the Phillies series will mark Joe Girardi’s first return to the Bronx in regular season play, and the series immediately following in which the Yankees will head to Citizens Bank Park will mark their first away game facing their former skipper. 

But perhaps more important than facing off against Girardi and the Phillies is the following series facing the Bombers’ division rivals, the Tampa Bay Rays.  The Yankees have a history of carrying a more talented roster than the Rays have; however, the Rays have taken the Yankees by surprise with victories on more than one occasion.  But with the current momentum from the Yankees offense and bullpen, it looks like there won’t be much to worry about in either series -- so long as the 2019 curse of not being able to beat lesser teams continues to stay far, far away. 

So, with all of the above in mind, what will this week look like?

Monday, August 3, 2020 – Phillies @ Yankees | First Pitch 7:05 PM | TV: YES Network

Jake Arrieta (0-0, -.-- ERA) vs Gerrit Cole (2-0, 3.09 ERA)

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 – Phillies @ Yankees | First Pitch 6:05 PM | TV: YES Network

Aaron Nola (0-1, 6.75 ERA) vs JA Happ (0-0, 9.00 ERA)


Wednesday, August 5, 2020 –Yankees @ Phillies | First Pitch 7:05 PM | TV: YES Network

Jordan Montgomery (1-0, 1.59 ERA) vs. TBD (0-0, -.-- ERA)

Thursday, August 6, 2020 – Yankees @ Phillies | First Pitch 6:05 PM | TV: YES Network

Masahiro Tanaka (0-0, 3.38 ERA) TBD (0-0, -.-- ERA)


Friday, August 7, 2020 – Yankees @ Rays | First Pitch 6:40 PM | TV: YES Network

TBD

Saturday, August 8, 2020 – Yankees @ Rays | GAME 1 First Pitch 2:10 PM | TV: YES Network | GAME 2 First Pitch 5:40 PM | TV: YES Network

TBD (for both games)

Sunday, August 9, 2020 – Yankees @ Rays | First Pitch 1:10 PM | TV: YES Network

TBD


As of Monday morning, August 3, the Yankees projected rotation this week is as follows:

In looking to his previous stats versus the current Phillies lineup (and keeping in mind that he hasn’t faced every active player in the lineup) he’s logged 20 strikeouts.  The lineup is 35-for-109 lifetime versus Cole.  Based on his current trajectory, Cole is in good shape for a win.  

Happ, Montgomery and Tanaka will all get their second starts of the season as well, before Aaron Boone has to make a decision on James Paxton against the Rays.  Paxton struggled again on Sunday night, allowing seven hits and three earned runs in just 3.0 IP against Boston.  His velocity is still down and the Yankees may have no choice but to continue to ride him out against Tampa Bay. 

Due to the scheduled double header on Saturday, we’ll probably see a bullpen game this week as well, featuring Chad Green and/or Jonathan Loaisiga.  And, we’ll probably see Cole again next weekend against the Rays.  Against the current Rays lineup, Cole looks even better; while the Rays have had fewer at-bats (74) against them than the Phillies have, he’s still managed to record 26 strikeouts on those 74 at-bats.  His latest starts against Tampa resulted in two utter dominant wins in the 2019 ALDS while he was still will Houston.

As for the Phillies, seeing as their Covid-19 scare has forced them to postpone their games for over a week, it is nearly impossible to predict who Girardi will call up to the mound to start against the Yankees.  Everyone has had multiple days of rest at this point.

With regard to the Rays, that series is still days away, and difficult to predict -- but not impossible.  Considering the probable pitchers for the Rays in the series against the Red Sox on August 4th and 5th are Charlie Morton and Ryan Yarbrough, respectively, and Yonny Chirinos pitched on August 2, the Yanks will probably have to face Blake Snell and Tyler Glasnow.  Both Morton and Chirinos will get some rest and either could face the Yanks as well.

What to Watch For:

1.     Rise for the Judge -- With Mike Trout out on paternity leave, Judge is currently the best player in MLB.  His five consecutive home run games (including a go-ahead home run on Sunday night for his second of the game) have left fans in awe, and is 9-for-31 on the season, hitting .273 with 14 RBIs.  As we at the BBB tweeted over the Red Sox series, Judge is on another planet right now.  He's also the first Yankee in 13 years to homer in five straight games. 

Photo credit: CBS Sports

2.    Cole mining -- the Yankees’ ace is 2-0 in his first season in Pinstripes.  He’s struck out 12 in 11 and 2/3 IP.  And he hasn't even looked his best, yet. Not much more need be said.

3.    Nick Nelson -- had a spectacular MLB and Yankees debut against the Red Sox.  He ended up with the win on August 1st, did not allow a single hit, and ended up with four strikeouts and two walks over 3.0 IP.  The guy was unflappable in a big spot, on a big stage.  I know I want to see him again this week. 

4.    Seeing Didi Gregorius again -- this series against the Phillies will not only mark the first time that Girardi faces his former squad in regular season play.  It will mark Gregorius’ first time back in the Bronx in a game that isn’t an exhibition game.  Sure, there’s a nostalgia factor, but Gregorius has played with most of the current Yankees.  He knows Yankee pitching, and he’s faced Cole prior to his joining the Yankees’ rotation.  Maybe we’ll get a post-game recap tweet (although hopefully not considering he only sends them when his team wins)?

With the Yankees on such a phenomenal roll, this week looks promising.  In this shortened season, they have been a joy to watch.  Regardless of how you feel about how much this season will “count,” it is still great to see the Yankees plowing forward on their #ChaseFor28.

Article by: Mary Grace Donaldson

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