Showdown in the Bronx
By Rich Bauer
To this point in the season the Yankees have stepped up to all challenges and have done very well. This week we hope is no different with both the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles coming to the Bronx. With the Sox in town for the first time this season you never know what you are going to get but I am sure it will be entertaining.
My thinking for this series is we are going to see strong pitching performances from both teams, maybe even a pitcher’s dual in two out of the three games. The one uncontrollable factor could be the weather. Forecasts show possible rain and very cool, unlike-June temperatures in the 50’s at game time.
In tonight’s opening game the Yanks throw Masahiro Tanaka (5-5, 6.34 ERA) and the question on everyone’s mind is which Tanaka will show up. Hopefully it is the pitcher who threw a 3-hit shutout against the Sox this past April 27th. He needs to show better control of his slider and to keep his fastball down; if not, the Bombers better be ready for a slugfest. Boston will counters with Drew Pomeranz (5-3, ERA 4.24) who has been one of their most consistent hurlers this season but Yanks have a good history of hitting him well, especially Brett Gardner and Didi Gregorius.
Game 2 of the series is a battle between a hot CC Sabathia (6-2) and Seton Hall Prep’s favorite son Rick Porcello (3-7, 4.24 ERA). Porcello has slowly, but surely, been rounding back into flashes of his last year’s Cy Young winning form but more at home in Fenway Park than on the road. With CC we have had three strong performances and he has lowered his ERA to 4.12 thanks to getting ahead in the count on batters and flashing signs of his past with very good control working both sides of the plate.
In the final game of the series on Thursday, both teams throw their big guys. Michael Pineda (6-3, 3.76 ERA) vs David Price (1-0, ERA, 3.00). First pitch is 7.05pm. I love Pineda’s strike out to walk ratio of 67 Ks to 15 BBs and that should play well against the free-swinging Red Sox lineup. Price has always been tough on the Yanks but over the past couple of seasons they have gotten to him more times than not by driving up his pitch count. This is a good match up for what is always a big game in a three game series. This last game decides a possible sweep or not and/or who wins or loses the series.
Yankee skipper Joe Girardi sums it up very nicely as he is quoted saying, “obviously it’s a big series, right now it’s one big series after another.”
photos: sportingnews.com (Masahiro Tanaka); nydailynews.com (Michael Pineda)