Yankees welcome Braves to Yankee Stadium for Interleague rematch
The New York Yankees are in the midst of a stretch not seen since 1998. They have swept three straight series continuing their dominance in Interleague play. A series sweep of the Atlanta Braves was dead in the middle of this string, and now the venue is Yankee Stadium in the Bronx for the rematch.
The Yankees (40-25) are fifteen games over .500 since being even at 21-21 on May 21st. The run has provided them a 1.5 game lead (two in the loss column) over the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East. The Yankees have the best winning percentage in the American League (.615).
The Braves are limping into the series after losing Brandon Beachy to the disabled list and Freddie Freeman has been out with a thumb injury. He hopes to return on Tuesday. The Braves find themselves four games behind the Washington Nationals despite losing two of three to the Orioles over the weekend.
The first two contests will be rematches from the initial series in Atlanta. CC Sabathia hopes to get back into dominant form after a couple of uncustomary lapses in his previous two starts. Sabathia was tagged for four runs on ten hits and two walks in his start against the Braves in his last outing. He was bailed out and got the win thanks to a six-run seventh inning highlighted by a grand slam from Alex Rodriguez. Sabathia (8-3, 3.70 ERA) is looking to join AL wins leader Ivan Nova with nine wins on the season. The Yankees ace is 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA against the Braves in his career.
The Braves send out Mike Minor, who pitched well enough to be in order for the win against the Yankees. He left the ballgame with a 4-0 lead after 7.1 innings of excellent pitching. However, Jonny Venters allowed Minor’s inherited runner and three others to score without getting an out as the Yankees tied the score on A-Rod’s grand slam. Minor is 3-4 with a 6.01 ERA. His start was the only of his career against the Yankees. It will be interesting to see what kinds of adjustments each team makes tonight.
In the middle game of the series Hiroki Kuroda (6-6, 3.43 ERA) is facing off against Tim Hudson (4-3, 3.90 ERA) again. Kuroda was just good enough in their last meeting as he wiggled in and out of trouble, while Hudson was leading until his last inning of work. Kuroda scattered nine hits and walked two allowing both Braves runs in the 3-2 Yankees victory. The Braves were 2-for-13 with RISP and stranded 13 base runners in total. Kuroda is 2-4 with a 2.23 ERA against the Braves in his career. Hudson is 1-4, with a 3.84 ERA all-time against the Yankees.
In the series finale, resurgent righty Phil Hughes (7-5, 4.50 ERA) takes the pill for the Yankees while the Braves trot out Tommy Hanson (7-4, 3.32 ERA) to the mound. This is the lone game in the series where the pitchers are not duplicated from the last. Hughes has been enjoying a nice run of late, winning his last three starts in which he allowed only four earned runs in 21.1 innings. Hughes has only made a two-inning relief appearance against the Braves.
Hanson is riding a good string of his own in his last three starts, where he’s gone 2-0 and allowed four earned runs in 20.1 innings of work. Hanson has made one career start against the Yankees and got the win despite allowing four hits and five walks. He stranded each of the nine runners he allowed in that game.
Below is a chart of statistical leaders through yesterday’s games for both teams.
The series has many questions to be answered. How long can the Yankees’ streak continue? How long can the Bombers continue to win without being productive with runners in scoring position? Is Phil Hughes’ resurgence legit?
For an audio preview of the series, Yanks Go Yard Podcast host Ricky Keeler speaks with Tomahawk Take senior staff writer Fred Owens about the Braves.