July 23, 2009

Athletics-Yankees series preview

I love previewing a series when the Yankees are already in first place. The Yanks are off to a blazing 6-0 start since the break after sweeping the Tigers and Orioles. Next up: the Oakland Athletics.

The poor Athletics (40-53), who stand in last place in the AL West, will play four in the Bronx this weekend and then head to Fenway for another four games.

The Yankees beat the A’s twice back in April, but the first game of the series was rained out and postponed to tonight. Unfortunately, more rain tonight could lead to another postponement. The two teams will meet again three more times in Oakland in August.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Athletics starters: Yankees starters:
Thursday Vin Mazzaro (2-6, 4.09) CC Sabathia (9-6, 3.66)
Friday Brett Anderson (5-7, 4.25) Joba Chamberlain (5-2, 4.05)
Saturday Gio Gonzalez (1-2, 9.33) Andy Pettitte (8-5, 4.62)
Sunday Dallas Braden (7-8, 3.40) Sergio Mitre (1-0, 4.76)
Tonight’s game looks really bad on Weather.com, but if it does happen, Sabathia will shoot for his 10th win.  Mazzaro has lot his last five starts and has been hit somewhat hard by some good teams.

Chamberlain is coming off one of his best starts of the season, but so is Brett Anderson. He fell seven outs short of a perfect game, and has shut down the Angels, Rays and Red Sox in his last three starts.

On Saturday, Pettitte will square off against another lefty starter. Gonzalez is one of Oakland’s best pitching prospects, but he allowed 11 earned runs against the Twins on Monday. Pettitte just pitched a gem against the Orioles on Monday.

Mitre will get a well-earned second start on Sunday after a pretty good outing against the Orioles on Tuesday. Braden is pitching well as of late, but I’m predicting a high-scoring affair for Sunday.

My Outlook:
It’s hard not to think sweep every series when the Yankees have swept three out of their last four opponents. However, even against a last place team, a four-game sweep is tough to accomplish, especially without A.J. Burnett. Bottom line, Yankees should come away with at least a split and hopefully a series win or sweep.

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