On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, I started the show by talking about the horrible news that Yankees’ fans heard during the game on Thursday night. General manager Brian Cashman announced to the media that ace pitcher Masahiro Tanaka has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. Three doctors that Tanaka saw are recommending that the pitcher with 12 wins this season try a six-week throwing program as rehab before he decides if he needs Tommy John Surgery. For the Yankees, it is a devastating blow for a rotation that has lost four of its five starters that were in the rotation on Opening Day. Carlos Beltran was also placed on the seven-day disabled list on Thursday with a concussion after he hit a ball in batting practice that ended up hitting him in the face. On-the-field, the Yankees managed just a split against the Cleveland Indians, but still have a 5-3 record on the road trip. Their 28 road wins are one road win behind the Los Angeles Dodgers for the most in baseball.
The New York Yankees (46-45) find themselves in a crucial series this weekend against the AL-East leading Baltimore Orioles (50-41) at Camden Yards. If the Yankees do get swept in this series, they will see that four game deficit in the standings extend to seven before the break. Plus, they are facing an O’s team that is coming off an impressive series win against the Washington Nationals.
For Baltimore, the talk of this month has been third baseman Manny Machado. Ever since serving his five-game suspension for tossing a bat in the direction of third base against the A’s back in June, Machado has been red-hot at the plate. In the month of July, he is hitting .522 with two home runs and three RBI’s. Machado is just one of several hitters in the Orioles’ lineup, including Nelson Cruz and his 28 home runs, that have them among the top five in the league in batting average and slugging percentage. While hitters like Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, the team could use a lot more from first baseman Chris Davis.
Davis, despite hitting a home run in the 11th inning in Monday’s win against the Nationals, has just five hits in 32 at-bats this month. The real surprise for the O’s has been Steve Pearce. The left fielder has been hitting .322 this season with 11 home runs and 31 RBI’s. This includes his month of June, where he hit .361 at the plate. Of course, the Orioles’ issues are still in the starting rotation, considering their team ERA of 3.88 is towards the middle of the pack in the big leagues. One of the disappointments for Baltimore has been Saturday’s starter, Ubaldo Jimenez, due to the fact that he has 60 walks this season. While Chris Tillman (Sunday’s starter) and Wei-Yin Chen have done a solid job in the rotation, the team can still use one more arm to enhance their playoff chances in the American League.
For this episode, I spoke with Steve Katz, a writer over at Birdswatcher.com to discuss the MVP’s for the Orioles in the first half as well as the recent resurgence of Manny Machado . Here are some more topics that we discussed on the show:
- Impact of the Tanaka injury: What’s next for the Yankees?
- Importance of the Orioles-Yankees series in the standings
- Takeaways from the Orioles’ last series against Washington
- Pitching Matchup Breakdown
- Miguel Gonzalez (Friday’s starter) pitching for his rotation slot?
- Could Kevin Gausman be called up after the All-Star break?
- Hiroki Kuroda‘s (Friday’s starter) new role as the head of the Yankees’ rotation
- Ubaldo Jimenez with an awful record in day games!
- Shane Greene (Saturday’s Yankees’ starter) looking to build off his success from his Cleveland start
- Chris Tillman with good home splits, but no wins to show for it
- Orioles’ Players To Watch: (Steve: Nelson Cruz , Me: Chris Davis)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch: (Me: Zelous Wheeler and Brian McCann)