Sunday night’s win felt like more than just the continuation of a great winning streak. Greg Bird drove a home run to right field and seems to be having better plate appearances after a dreadful start to the season. Fellow Baby Bomber Aaron Judge came within inches of his fourth homer of the year, and Michael Pineda actually put together another strong start. That’s two in a row for him. Seriously, is this real life?!
The Yanks will look to extend the streak to eight when they begin their three game series with the White Sox tonight. Chicago is coming off an extra inning victory over the Twins to take the series, thanks to the red hot bat of Avisail Garcia, who drilled a game-winning homer in the 10th inning to add to his four-hit day.
The young arms for the Yanks will look to contain Garcia and the White Sox as we will get a better idea of how far along these youngsters are. Jordan Montgomery gets the ball for the series opener after putting together a solid first start against the Rays last week. Montgomery lasted only 4 2⁄3 innings in that first start, but the bullpen should be able to help him out should we see another abbreviated start since they received a night of rest on Sunday thanks to Pineda and Bryan Mitchell.
The White Sox will counter with Derek Holland and his 1.50 ERA in game one. Yankee hitters don’t have much experience against the lefty, but Jacoby Ellsbury could stay in the lineup despite facing the southpaw. Ellsbury is swinging the bat well and has eight hits in 18 at-bats against Holland with a pair of doubles.
Ellsbury also has decent success against game two starter Miguel Gonzalez. Ellsbury is 9-26 against him, while Chase Headley is on the other side of that spectrum, going hitless in 11 at-bats against Gonzalez with five strikeouts.
Luis Severino will be on the mound for game two of the series, and it will be very intriguing to see how he carries over the momentum from his last start, an 11 strikeout performance. Another strong outing for Severino would be huge for his confidence as he tries to make his way back to 2015 form.
The series finale will be Tanaka Time as the Yankee ace takes on Dylan Covey, who will be making his second start of the season. Covey threw 5 1⁄3 innings against the Twins on Friday, allowing just one run on five hits. Tanaka is coming off of his best start of the season, which isn’t saying much given how his first two starts went. Still, it was a step in the right direction, and we’ll see if he can build off that momentum.
The Yanks will miss Jose Quintana, which I’m sure they’re fine with even taking into account Quintana’s poor start to the season. Despite Quintana’s rocky beginnings, the White Sox come to town with a 2.91 team ERA, which is second best in the majors. They have needed it to get to a 6-5 record on the season as their offense has pushed across just 39 runs, which ranks 27th.
The main questions for the upcoming series will be around the youngsters (as they usually are). Do the young starters turn in another pair of strong starts to provide hope for the rotation? Will Bird finally be the word again? Will Ronald Torreyes invest in a stool so high-fiving Judge doesn’t take so much out of him? All this and more will be answered in the next three days.