The Yankees have now won six straight and look to seep their second consecutive series against the Baltimore Orioles. Hiroki Kuroda will return to the mound after undergoing tests on his hip and scaring the hell out of everyone. Hammel has not been good this year, pitching to a 5.19 ERA and 5.14 FIP, so hopefully the Yankees can take advantage of that. The Yankees send out the same lineup as yesterday:
Today's lineup: Gardner 8 Suzuki 9 Cano 4 Hafner DH Almonte 7 Overbay 3 Cruz 5 Nunez 6 Stewart 2 Kuroda RHP— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) July 7, 2013
Brett Gardner has been struggling this recently, but Ichiro Suzuki and Robinson Cano have been on fire. Travis Hafner, Zoilo Almonte, and Lyle Overbay have all hit decently. Luis Cruz and Eduardo Nunez, returning to the lineup yesterday, look promising, but let's see if they can continue to hit. This could be a strong lineup against a weak pitcher.
It seems that Michael Pineda is scheduled to start for Scranton on Tuesday, which probably means he will be optioned down to Triple-A, ending his rehab assignment according to plan, but allowing him more time to improve. Brian Cashman spoke about making a decision on whether or not to call up him up depending on how well he pitched and their apparent need. In five starts he put up a 2.82 ERA, 6.9 H/9 and 4.0 BB/9, but also a 8.9 K/9 in 22.1 innings. While he has been effective, he could also use some time to build up arm strength and hopefully improve his control.
In the last month Yankees starters have a combined 4.59 ERA, 4.03 FIP, a 6.60 K/9, and a 2.27 BB/9, which amounts to the ninth best pitching staff in baseball. Over the last month, David Phelps has been the weakest Yankee starter (6.84 ERA, 4.70 FIP), but now that he's on the disabled list with a forearm strain it looks like CC Sabathia (4.89 ERA, 4.59 FIP) has been the weakest link in the rotation. We all know he's not going anywhere, so Pineda wouldn't be a noticeable improvement over anyone just yet.
Keeping Pineda in Triple-A for another three weeks will also allow the Yankees to maintain an extra year of team control over him. Bringing up Pineda could become a hot topic again in August, as long as he continues to improve.
More From Pinstriped Bible