For the fifth time in six tries, the Yankees enter the final game of a set with a chance to win the series (the lone outlier being the four-game set against Minnesota, which they rallied to split).
Kind of shocking we got here, especially since the series opener was marked by the unpleasant pairing of the team's recently-dead offense with a Clarke Schmidt start.
Schmidt faltered (quickly, and against Shohei Ohtani) and the Yankees posted two runs scored for their second straight game without Giancarlo Stanton in the lineup, as is typical.
Wednesday's contest wasn't exactly a slugfest, but Clay Holmes walked a tightrope, Aaron Judge brought back a dinger, Ian Hamilton survived a duel in extras, and Gleyber Torres finally got some lift on the ball for a 10th-inning walk-off. It wasn't pretty. This has been the team's worst offensive series of the year, by far. But it counts!
Now, they take to the diamond one more time before Toronto comes to town, facing a left-handed starter, something that hasn't gone well so far in 2023. The Yankees are hitting just .186 and slugging .299 in 97 at-bats against lefty pitchers so far this season -- though perhaps Gleyber's walk-off against Matt Moore represented the beginning of a turning tide? If you're going to be a right-handed-heavy lineup, you'd better hit lefties. That's what I always say.
Yankees Starting Lineup for Thursday, April 20 vs Angels
IKF in center field doesn't sound like a ray of sunshine, but at least Oswald Peraza is getting another crack at it.
Yankees Pitching Probables for Thursday, April 20 vs Angels
The Yankees will send left-hander Nestor Cortes Jr. to the mound, who certainly deserved better in his last start. Instead, he watched Holmes start the eighth inning with a single, a walk, and a two-run Carlos Correa double, all after he'd posted seven two-run innings with seven strikeouts against the Twins.
He'll be opposed by Angels starter Patrick Sandoval (1-0, 1.23 ERA) who, no, didn't cheat on Ariana Madix with Raquel Leviss. The Yankees might have a better chance if they can convince him to throw with his right hand.