On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, I started off the show by talking about an eventful weekend for the New York Yankees. On the field, the Yankees (44-43) got their 11-game road trip off to a good start by taking three of four from the Minnesota Twins. The key for the Yankees in that series was their offense, which scored 23 total runs in the series. Sunday was a busy day for the Bronx Bombers. Before Sunday’s win, the team designated slumping outfielder Alfonso Soriano for assignment and traded starting pitcher Vidal Nuno to the Arizona Diamondbacks for veteran starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy, a move that was needed with CC Sabathia likely out for the rest of the season. McCarthy will make his Yankees’ debut Wednesday at Progressive Field vs. the Cleveland Indians while Shane Greene will make his first Major League start on Monday night in place of Nuno.
After the game, the team found out that Masahiro Tanaka, Derek Jeter, and Dellin Betances will be heading back to Target Field on July 15th for the All-Star Game. However, Tanaka will most likely not pitch in that game due to a probable start on the last game before the All-Star Break. After a Twins’ series that saw Zelous Wheeler hit his first major league home run and an offense come to live, the team gets set for another four game series against another AL Central team, the Cleveland Indians (43-44).
The Indians under manager Terry Francona were the talk of the baseball world last year as they made a run to the AL Wild Card game before losing to the Tampa Bay Rays. This year, while Cleveland is six games back of the Detroit Tigers in the AL Central, it has been an average season for the Tribe due to inconsistent starting pitching. Last year’s ace, Justin Masterson, has had a down season for Cleveland, including a high amount of walks this season (53 walks). Masterson will be throwing for the Indians against Greene on Monday night. This year, the rotation is led by Corey Kluber. The 28-year-old is one of the Final Vote candidates for the AL All-Star team due to his 137 strikeouts and a 2.86 ERA on the season. For the bullpen, Cody Allen has done a good job for the Indians with nine saves in ten chances since taking the job from John Axford earlier in the season.
The lone Indians’ representative at this All-Star game so far will be left fielder Michael Brantley. Brantley leads the Indians in every major offensive category this season due to his .321 batting average, 13 home runs, and 57 RBI’s. The 27-year-old is hitting .389 in the first week of July and is the centerpiece of an offense that is in the top ten in all of baseball in runs scored and on-base percentage. The surprise bat for the Indians this year has been third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall, who in 72 games, is hitting .338 (not qualified for batting title yet) with nine homers and 39 RBI’s. From a Yankees’ perspective, Nick Swisher has had a rough year for Cleveland, hitting just .197.
For this episode, I spoke with Kyle Downing, the editor of Wahoo’s On First, to get his take on the Yankees-Indians series. On the show, he gave his case for why Kluber should make the All-Star team and whether or not the Indians will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline. Here are some of the topics that were discussed by Kyle and I on the show:
- Addition of McCarthy an upgrade, but is this the end of the Yankees’ deadline moves?
- Michael Brantley becoming the centerpiece of Cleveland’s lineup
- What is behind the struggles of Justin Masterson?
- Will the Indians trade Masterson at the deadline?
- Shane Greene‘s first Major League start on Monday: Any expectations?
- Masahiro Tanaka‘s first start in Cleveland on Tuesday: Will he improve after giving up four earned runs in Minnesota?
- Trevor Bauer (Tuesday’s Indians’ starter) with non-impressive numbers, but keeps team in the game
- Josh Tomlin (Wednesday’s Indians’ starter) and his change in mechanics
- T.J House (Thursday’s Indians’ starter) inducing a heavy dose of ground ball outs
- David Phelps (Thursday’s likely Yankees’ starter) gives up a lot of home runs on the road!
- Indians’ Players To Watch (Kyle: Catcher Yan Gomes and reliever Kyle Crockett)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch (Brian Roberts and Jacoby Ellsbury)
- Disappointing season for Carlos Santana so far in Cleveland