Some numbers you might be interested in. During the current six-game
win streak, the Yankees have outscored their opponents 43-22. Over the
last five games of the streak, the winning pitchers have all been the starter
for the Yankees, marking the first time that all of the starters have won on the
same trip through the rotation. The Yankees are hitting a lofty .311 over
the span as well, and are averaging ten hits per game. Quite the
turnaround from the first part of the season.
After losing six straight, Oakland rebounded nicely with a series victory
over the Devil Rays, though Tim Hudson's meltdown in the third game of the
series may have shocked them. Oakland has had trouble scoring runs all
season, partly due to the fact that their only non-slumping hitter is Jermaine Dye. Over their last nine games, they're averaging just 3.7 runs per game.
The Yankees swept Oakland out of the Bronx just last week, and not much has
changed since then. Except that the Yankees might actually be hotter than
they were before. The win streak, coupled with Boston's four-game losing
streak, has left the Yanks just a game out of first place. I'm sure a
taste of the top of the mountain would feel good for George Steinbrenner right
about now. What say we give it to him?
Yankees Road Record: 5-6
Oakland Home Record: 4-5
2004 Series Results: Yankees lead 3-0
Key Matchups: Alex Rodriguez vs. Barry Zito: 9/46, 15 strikeouts...
Derek Jeter vs. Zito: 8/20, 1.129 OPS... John Flaherty vs. Zito: 3/12, 3
homeruns... Rodriguez vs. Rich Harden: 0/3, 2 strikeouts... Jeter vs. Mark Mulder: 8/22, .800 OPS... Jason Giambi vs. Mulder: 4/10, 4 RBI...
Mark Kotsay vs. Kevin Brown: 5/26... Bobby Kielty vs. Jose Contreras: 3/6, 1.738
OPS... Mark Kotsay vs. Javier Vazquez: 5/26, .569 OPS... Damian Miller vs.
Vazquez: 5/13, homerun, two doubles.
Tuesday: Jose Contreras (1-2, 7.41) vs. Mark Mulder (2-2, 3.00)
Contreras turned in his only performance of the season that could be
qualified as "good" in his last start against these same
Athletics. It's beginning to look like Contreras will be a bottom-feeder,
only able to beat the teams that can't hit. Just look at what Boston has
done to him.
Mulder's last start was the only one that didn't fit into the Quality Start
category, and it just barely missed. He's made a name for himself as a
model of consistency, but the Yankees showed they could beat him last time out.
Wednesday: Kevin Brown (4-0, 2.70) vs. Barry Zito (2-3, 6.83)
Brown was just named AL Pitcher of the Month for April, after his blistering
start. He handled Oakland in his last go, notching a win while allowing
four runs on seven hits. One interesting tidbit is that Brown has allowed
either no walks or four walks in each of his start, nothing inbetween.
The Yankees continued to give Zito fits this season, and he's now allowed 15
runs over his last two starts, all earned. This hardly looks like the Zito
that won the Cy Young award two seasons ago, but he did strikeout nine batters
in his last start. So something's working.
Thursday: Javier Vazquez (3-2, 2.55) vs. Rich Harden (0-2, 4.37)
Vazquez has been brilliant so far this year, allowing more than two runs in
a start just once. His last outing was an absolute gem, where he allowed
just two hits over eight innings against the Royals. Vazquez has been
everything the Yankees have wanted so far, and now he gets a crack at the A's.
Harden hasn't progressed as quickly as the A's were hoping, and he's still
experiencing growing pains. That said, he is a very talented pitcher with
tons of potential. This will be his first start against the Yankees, so if
he can just keep the walk totals down, he should be okay.
Predictions and Prognostications:
Call me crazy, but I don't see the machine slowing down just yet.
Brown and Vazquez have been too consistently good to stop now, so the only
serious threat of a hiccup is Contreras. The big Cuban has shown the
ability to dominate when he's on, so the only question will be if he's on or
not. I'll hope that he is, but Mulder might just beat him
regardless. Yanks take two of three.
Subscribe to PinstripesPlus.com today! Only $79.95 brings you one full year of Total Access Pass and all premium content on PinstripesPlus.com, Scout™ Player and Roster Database (including the 'Hot News' at the top of the site), Breaking News and Information, Total Access to all TheInsiders.com Websites, and Player Pages, detailing the progress and careers of players from high school, the minors, and the pro ranks.
Sample the PinstripesPlus.com Total Access Pass™ at no risk for 5 days, then pay only $7.95 or $21.95. If you want to save 2 months off the monthly subscription price, simply choose the annual PinstripesPlus.com Total Access Pass™ at $79.95.
|Subscribe to PinstripesPlus.com|