On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, brought to you by Knoda.com, I started off the show by talking about the New York Yankees (60-54) making a statement by taking three out of four from the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. It was impressive considering the Yankees’ pitching (0.99 ERA in four games) outdueled in most cases, the trio of Cy Young winners (Max Scherzer, David Price, and Justin Verlander) and 13-win pitcher Rick Porcello. Shane Greene and Chris Capuano did not give up an earned run over the final two starts of the series. While the Yankees managed just 11 runs in the series, it was the timely hitting that got it done (ex: Stephen Drew‘s RBI double in the fifth inning on Thursday). Brian McCann also had a standout series with two home runs, one off of Price and one off of Verlander.
The Yankees will also see Michael Pineda make his second minor league rehab start at Scranton-Wilkes Barre on Friday night against Columbus. New York also made the decision on Thursday to start Esmil Rogers on Friday night against the Cleveland Indians and call up Bryan Mitchell from Scranton to help the bullpen. Rogers will make the start for David Phelps, who is on the disabled list with elbow inflammation. By taking three of four from Detroit, New York is now a half game behind the Kansas City Royals for the second Wild Card spot and five games behind the Baltimore Orioles in the AL East. The Yankees will try to continue their 10-4 home record since the All-Star Break this weekend when they take on the Indians, who come in to the Bronx after losing three of four to the Cincinnati Reds
The Cleveland Indians (57-58) are still in the playoff race as they are 3.5 games back for the second Wild Card spot and 6.5 games behind the Tigers in the American League Central. The Indians and Yankees split a four-game series at Progressive Field back in July, the last series that Masahiro Tanaka pitched for the Bronx Bombers. One of the main contributors for Cleveland in that series was Michael Brantley (.320, 16 HR, 72 RBI’s). The Tribe’s left fielder hit .444 in the series with one home run and five RBI’s. This is a Cleveland team that has hit 21 home runs as a team since the All-Star break. (The Yankees have 24.)
This is a Cleveland team that looks much different than the one the Yankees played last month. Terry Francona‘s team made two trades before the deadline, sending starting pitcher Justin Masterson to the St. Louis Cardinals and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to the Washington Nationals.
Even by trading Masterson, Cleveland’s rotation still headlines Corey Kluber, who will be pitching in this series on Saturday vs. Brandon McCarthy. Kluber has pitched to a 2.55 ERA this season and has 177 K’s on the season. He was a candidate for the American League All-Star Final Vote last month. In the bullpen, Cody Allen has been the answer as the closer with 14 saves in 15 chances.
The Tribe have stayed in the playoff race with the help of Carlos Santana. After just 17 RBI’s in the first two months of the season, Santana had a combined 35 RBI’s in June and July. He now leads the team in home runs with 20. Of course, Yankees’ fans will remember Nick Swisher, who had two home runs against the Yankees back in Cleveland. Swisher is hitting only .207 this season, but his month of July (.257) was his best month in terms of batting average.
For this episode, I spoke with Nick Schaller, a staff writer over at Wahoo’s On First. Nick gave me his thoughts on the Indians’ playoff chances after losing three of four against the Reds as well as how the schedule for the rest of August could play into the Tribe’s favor as they try for a playoff push. Here are some of the other topics Nick and I discussed on the show:
- Nick’s takeaways from the last Yankees-Indians series
- Did the team get a good return for Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson?
- Pitching Matchup Breakdown
- Trevor Bauer (Friday’s Indians’ starter) only giving up two home runs in his last 37 innings
- Was it the right decision by the Yankees to start Rogers on Friday?
- Corey Kluber hasn’t given up more than four earned runs in a start since July 11
- McCarthy giving the Yankees 116 pitches in his last start against the Tigers
- Carlos Carrasco getting a spot start for the Tribe on Sunday
- Hiroki Kuroda (Sunday’s Yankees’ starter) has thrown seven innings in back-to-back starts
- Indians’ Players To Watch: (Nick: Carlos Santana, Ricky: Jason Kipnis)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch: Chase Headley and Martin Prado
- Who needs to be Cleveland’s X-Factor down the stretch?
- Nick’s thoughts on the Royals’ chances of catching the Tigers in the AL Central