On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show (recorded Wednesday night), I started off the show by talking about the All-Star festivities that took place at Target Field in Minnesota.
Of course, it was all about the Captain, Derek Jeter. Jeter went 2-for-2 in Tuesday’s win for the American League. Jeter was taken out by John Farrell before the top of the 4th inning when Alexei Ramirez came to get him, drawing a huge ovation from the players and the fans. It was the second such ovation for Jeter on the night.
Now, after all the celebration, the New York Yankees (47-47) get set to begin a crucial ten-game homestand that will determine whether this team should be buyers or sellers at the July 31st trade deadline. Joe Girardi announced before the break that David Phelps, Brandon McCarthy, and Hiroki Kuroda would be the three starters who get the ball for the Yankees in this first series.
The homestand starts on Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds (51-44), a team that is only 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers for the NL Central lead. Cincinnati finished their first half of the season on a strong note, winning seven of their last nine games. For first-year manager Bryan Price, it has been a season where the Reds have had to battle numerous injuries to stay in the race. The latest of those injuries have come to two of their mainstays in the starting lineup in second baseman Brandon Phillips and first baseman Joey Votto.
Phillips will likely miss the rest of the regular season as he underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. As for Votto, he is dealing with a quadriceps’ injury and has not played in a game since July 5th. Votto has only played in 62 games this season and is known more for his great on-base percentage (.435 in 2013). Without these two players in the lineup, the team has had to lean on other players to pick up an offense that is 19th in runs scored.
Two of those players are third baseman Todd Frazier and catcher Devin Mesoraco, both All-Star selections. Frazier has led the team in every major offensive category with a .290 average, 19 home runs and 53 RBI’s. It will be a homecoming for Frazier considering he grew up in Toms River, New Jersey. As for Mesoraco, the 26-year-old catcher is hitting .304 in 60 games this season.
The strength of the Reds is their starting pitching that is second in all of baseball in quality starts with 62. Alfredo Simon and Johnny Cueto, both All-Stars, will be facing the Yankees in this series (Saturday and Sunday’s starters respectively). Simon has been a surprise in the rotation during his All-Star campaign with a Major League leading 12 wins. As for Cueto, he has stayed healthy for Cincinnati this year and it has paid huge dividends with his 2.13 ERA. In the bullpen, Aroldis Chapman has dominated hitters all season with his 102 mph fastball in the ninth inning with 21 saves in 23 chances and 60 strikeouts over 29.2 innings of work.
I was joined by Jesse Borek, the editor of Blog Red Machine, to help me breakdown the Reds-Yankees Series. Jesse gave his take on the Reds’ needs heading into the trade deadline as well as the solid season that speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton has had at the top of the order. Here are some of the other topics we talked about on the show:
- Grading Bryan Price in his first few months as manager
- Which Reds’ injury has more an impact on the lineup: Phillips or Votto?
- Mike Leake (Friday’s Reds’ starter) throwing more innings at the back of the Reds’ rotation
- Should expectations he higher for David Phelps in the second half?
- Reasons behind Simon’s impressive season in the starting rotation.
- Brandon McCarthy‘s struggles against the Reds this season
- Johnny Cueto with excellent numbers at Yankee Stadium in his career
- Hiroki Kuroda‘s struggles in InterLeague starts this season.
- Why Sunday could be the game Brian McCann breaks out in the home run department!
- A good thing that Dellin Betances didn’t pitch in the All-Star Game?
- Reds’ Players To Watch: (Jesse: Devin Mesoraco, Me: Jay Bruce and Todd Frazier)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch: Me: Derek Jeter and Jacoby Ellsbury)
- Jonathan Broxton and Aroldis Chapman with a dominant 1-2 pitch late in game for the Reds
Tags: New York Yankees