The New York Yankees set out to build on a modest two-game winning streak as they open a three-game series tonight against the Oakland A’s at The Coliseum. The game marks the beginning of a six-game West Coast swing and nine-game road trip.
The Yankees are 4.5 games back of the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles despite a lurid run of poor performances at the plate and by some of the starting pitching. This is hardly an insurmountable lead with 118 games to play, so the Yankees should feel optimistic about their chances to make some noise.
They’ll have to do it against a team that is surprising many across the league. The A’s are 22-23 and sit five games back of the Texas Rangers in the AL West. They’ve lost two in row, but have lost three straight only twice this season. On the flip side, the team has yet to put together a winning streak of more than three games as well.
The A’s are doing it with pitching as they rank in the lower quarter among MLB teams in many offensive categories. As a team they are hitting .210 (30th) with 156 R (28th) and have a .333 SLG % (30th). The pitching staff is 9th in team ERA with a 3.52 mark.
The Yankees trot out Ivan Nova in the series opener against Tyson Ross. Saturday afternoon CC Sabathia takes on former Yankees starter Bartolo Colon. In the series finale on Sunday, Hiroki Kuroda squares off against Tommy Milone.
The Yankees are 9-10 on the road this season and the A’s are 10-12 in Oakland. Below is a look at the statistical leaders for each team heading into tonight’s game.
The Yankees send Nova out for the series opener to face right-hander Ross. There is little to no history between the pitchers and the opposing team.
HAL STEINBRENNER VEHEMENTLY DENIES YANKEES ARE ON THE MARKET
The New York Daily News made some noise yesterday by publishing a report, supposedly backed by credible sources in the Yankees’ organization and the financial field, that the team was looking into their options for a sale of the storied franchise. Hal Steinbrenner and every staff member of the Yankees who was asked said the assertion was without merit. For a good summary of the episode see Andrew Corselli’s piece here.
- Nova is coming off one of the more confusing starts in recent memory. He gave up five earned runs while striking out 12 in a loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
- According to Steven Miller of MLB.com, Curtis Granderson has played in every single inning this season, one of seven players to do so in MLB.
Ricky Keeler will have the Yanks Go Yard Podcast Preview for the Oakland series up later today. I’ll take a look around the majors in Friday’s weekly feature, Outside the Bronx.