On this edition of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, I started the show by discussing the New York Yankees’ recent offensive struggles. After scoring seven runs in a win over the Cardinals on Wednesday, the team has combined to score only eight runs in the last four games. This includes New York losing two of three to the Minnesota Twins and getting blown out 10-2 in a makeup game against Felix Hernandez and the Seattle Mariners. The Yankees (29-27) have now lost four of their five games and fans are starting to wonder whether or not the team will sign free agent first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales after the draft to at least be insurance for Mark Teixeira and his injured wrist. The team will conclude its homestand with a three-game series against a team that has been the best in the American League, if not all of baseball, this season.
The Oakland Athletics (35-22) are a team that leads their division by 4.5 games and lead the major leagues in runs scored and on-base percentage. One of the leaders on that offense is third baseman Josh Donaldson, who leads the team in batting average (.284), home runs (15), and RBI (48). Donaldson and Yoenis Cespedes (10 home runs) are just two parts to an Oakland offense that is clicking on all cylinders. The one aspect of this Oakland team you have to be impressed with is their rotation. After both Jarrod Parker and A.J. Griffin have had to undergo Tommy John surgery, the team still has the best E.R.A. in baseball. The staff is led by Sonny Gray, who has become the ace of the staff with his team-high 65 strikeouts. For the Yankees, this is a good measuring stick series for them to try to see where they stack up against one of the best in the league.
For this episode, I was joined by Jose Benitez, the editor of Swingin’ A’s. Jose gave his thoughts on what has been the main factor in Oakland’s success as well as the maturation of Gray into a front-line pitcher. Here are some more topics that Jose and I discussed on this episode:
- Could Josh Donaldson be a legitimate A.L. MVP candidate?
- Starting Pitching Matchups
- Scott Kazmir (Tuesday’s starter) performing better than expected in Oakland?
- What the Yankees can expect from Jesse Chavez (Wednesday’s starter) and Drew Pomeranz (Thursday’s starter)
- How will Masahiro Tanaka fare vs. the A’s lineup on Thursday?
- Hiroki Kuroda‘s struggles at home in 2014 vs. his success in 2013 (Tuesday’s Yankees’ starter)
- Vidal Nuno going 100+ pitches in his last two starts (Wednesday’s Yankees’ starter)
- A’s Players To Watch (Jose: Coco Crisp and Eric Sogard)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch (Brian McCann, Derek Jeter, and Ichiro Suzuki)
- Injury Updates on Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick
- Why I think David Robertson needs to remain the closer
- Injury update on Carlos Beltran