July 5, 2010

Yankees-Athletics (Braden-less) series preview

The Yankees finish up the first half with a seven-game west coast road trip, starting with the Athletics tonight and ending with a four-game series with the Mariners.

The Yankees start the series atop the AL East with the best record in baseball (50-31), while Oakland resides in third place in the West with a 41-42 record.

Head to Head
The Yankees beat the A’s twice in their three-game set last time, but that wasn’t the real story. Alex Rodriguez and Dallas Braden exchanged words after A-Rod ran across “Braden’s mound.” Braden went on to throw a perfect game a few starts later and the rest is history. Now, there are even t-shirts for sale.

Braden is unfortunately on the DL and will not be pitching in this series. There’s still hope for a rematch, however, as these two teams meet again in late August.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters Athletics starters
Mon., 10:05 p.m. J. Vazquez (6-7, 5.11) Ben Sheets (3-7, 4.98)
Tues., 10:05 p.m. CC Sabathia (10-3, 3.33) Trevor Cahill (8-2, 2.74)
Wed., 10:05 p.m. A.J. Burnett (6-7, 4.90) Gio Gonzalez (7-5, 3.50)

Players to Watch:
Rodriguez. He’s clearly not liked by this team thanks to Braden’s mouth. And I’m willing to bet no teams are very fond of him since he took a spot on the All-Star roster undeservingly.

Athletics: Daric Barton. Who? He is the A’s best hitter, hitting to the tune of .289/.396/.409. However, Kurt Suzuki carries the team’s pop. Watch out for both.

I’ve been right the past two weeks, so I’ll hope to keep my streak alive down the stretch. I say the Yankees have it set up for a sweep this series. Vazquez will lower his ERA below 5.00 with a decent start tonight and Nos. 1-2 will take care of business.

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