Weekly Preview: NYY @ TOR 4/12 – 4/14, TB @ NYY 4/16 – 4/18

 

Photo credit: Lineups.com

Well, this feels familiar.


The Yankees just narrowly avoided a sweep at the Trop, thanks to an extra-innings rally by an otherwise absent offense, and some good bullpen pitching by recent call-up Albert Abreu.  While I’m in a good mood writing after the last game of the three-game set against the Rays, that mood wasn’t the mood of the entire series.  

 

From the fumbled Gleyber Torres throw last Wednesday against the Orioles, to collective freak-outs by Yankees Twitter regarding the health of Aaron Judge and his absence in the lineup, to Gio’s COVID vaccine, to a pitiful Domingo German start that resulted in him catching the Alternate Site Express, to Jay Bruce’s pitiful performance overall to an offense that just overall failed to show up except in extra innings on Sunday in the last game of the series at the Trop… it’s been a lot.

 

But it’s a new week.  A new chance to face rivals.  Let’s look at the matchups:

 

NYY @ TOR:

Game 1: Monday, April 12 | First Pitch: 7:07pm | TV: YES Network, MLB Extra

Gerrit Cole (1-0, 1.46 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (0-0, X.XX ERA)

Game 2: Tuesday, April 13 | First Pitch: 7:07pm | TV: YES Network, MLB Extra

Jameson Taillon (0.0, 3.86 ERA) vs. Hyun Jin Ryu (0-1, 2.92 ERA)

Game 3: Wednesday, April 14 | First Pitch: 1:07pm | TV: YES Network

Corey Kluber (0-1, 5.68 ERA) vs. Ross Stripling (0-1, 7.56 ERA)

 

TB @ NYY:

Game 1: Friday, April 16 | First Pitch: 7:05pm | TV: YES Network

TBD (X-X, X.XX ERA) vs. TBD (X-X, X.XX ERA)

Game 2: Saturday, April 17 | First Pitch: 1:05pm | TV: YES Network

TBD (X-X, X.XX ERA) vs. TBD (X-X, X.XX ERA)

Game 1: Sunday, April 18 | First Pitch: 1:05pm | TV: YES Network

TBD (X-X, X.XX ERA) vs. TBD (X-X, X.XX ERA)

The pitching for later this week has yet to be announced (we’ll update here as that happens), but one aspect of both series that we can all look forward to is another quality Gerrit Cole start -- in his last start, he delivered 13 strikeouts in seven innings of work against the O’s.  When facing the Blue Jays, Cole is 3-0 with a 2.97 ERA in five starts.  Injuries have kept anyone from witnessing what Robbie Ray will bring to this season due to a season-opening I.L. stint.

Considering the fact that he made his first start since 2019 against the O’s last week, Jameson Taillon is in good shape and should be exciting to watch.  And, the fact that we haven’t seen the best of Hyun Jin Ryu this season helps too -- Ryu is still looking for his first win of the 2021 season.  Regardless, Ryu is still the Toronto ace, and the Yankees are 28-for-109 when facing him.

As far as Corey Kluber, it’s redemption season.  He has yet to pick up his first win in Pinstripes.  He’s already faced both the Blue Jays and the Rays this season -- against the Blue Jays, he allowed two runs (one earned run) over four innings, and against the Rays he was pulled from the game after just two and 1/3 IP thanks to allowing five runs (three earned).  However, he’s in better shape than Ross Stripling, who is 0-3 against the Yankees and carries a 7.56 ERA.

Photo Credit: NJ.com

What to watch for:

Hicks only hit one to the sticks: Yes, Aaron Hicks did hit a home run during the Rays series.  It was in a clutch spot.  But we need to see more.  In a season that’s only a week and a half old, Hicks is hitting .148, is 4-for-27 and has managed to strike out 11 times.  It will also be curious to see if his standing in the batting order changes -- because he’s not working batting third.

Personal catcher controversy: It’s no secret to anyone who watched Cole’s last outing that his pitching was far more stellar with Kyle Higashioka behind the plate.  Gary Sanchez caught Cole in his Opening Day start which resulted in no decision, but Cole logged his aforementioned 13 strikeouts on April 6th with Higashioka catching him.  Since Gary is Scary again, it would be great to have him in the lineup, but is it worth sacrificing Cole’s full potential?   

RISP fails (hopefully not): An old Yankees problem is back to haunt us all in 2021, and it’s that the Yankees are once again failing to play small ball and hit situationally, leaving scores of men on base.  When DJ LeMahieu hits into a double play (though he was saved in the second instance) twice in the same game, you know it’s long past time to deal with RISP issues. 

Gleyber Day: The above mentioned Gleyber defense problem.  But, he did address the problem above in the Sunday Rays game: hitting with RISP.  A sign of hope (I hope).

Odor Opportunities: Rougned Odor was a welcome surprise in Sunday’s game, with his game-winning extra innings hit.  He addressed the need to hit not only with RISP, but in a clutch situation.  Will we see more from him this week?

 

Article by: Mary Grace Donaldson
 

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