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Yankees vs A’s: Series Preview

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No more west coast extra inning games please.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees’ rotation took a hit this week when CC Sabathia went down with a grade two hamstring strain, but the show must go on out west. The Yanks have a four game series this weekend against the A’s, who were just swept in a two-game interleague series with the Marlins. Oakland is currently last in the AL West and losers of three in a row, and seven of their last 10.

Here are your pitching matchups, with a question mark lingering on the series finale thanks to the absence of Sabathia:

Game One: Jordan Montgomery vs Sonny Gray

With Sabathia on the mend, the Yanks will need Montgomery to continue his effectiveness on the mound. The rookie lefty has been stellar, especially of late, allowing just four earned runs in his last 24 innings.

His last start against the Orioles was a strong one, allowing two runs over seven innings while recording a career-high eight strikeouts. This will be the first time Montgomery faces the A’s this year.

Oakland will counter with their ace in Sonny Gray, who is coming off of a loss to the Rays in his last start. Gray can blame his defense for that, as only two of the five runs he surrendered through six innings were earned. The scorching Didi Gregorius will look to stay hot to begin this series as he 5-7 against Gray in his career.

Game Two: Luis Severino vs Sean Manaea

The second game of this series will feature two starters who are feeling it on the mound right now. Severino is coming off another brilliant start against the Orioles (which was not talked about enough due to the Yanks’ boisterous offense that night), and Manaea is coming off a fine start of his own against the Rays. Manaea hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a start since May 15th, and Severino hasn’t since May 14th. We could have a pitchers’ duel on our hands.

I dare say that Chris Carter is 2-for-5 with two home runs and 5 RBI against Manaea in his career, but that could very well be 2-for-9 with four strikeouts by the end of this game. Nobody on the A’s has more than three career at-bats against Severino, so maybe a lack of experience will favor the young righty.

Game Three: Masahiro Tanaka vs Jesse Hahn

Time to find out if Monday’s solid start was a tease or a sign of redemption for Tanaka. The Yankee ace has been disappointing all year, but one earned run in 6 23 innings against the Angels was promising to see. With Sabathia out of the rotation for a while, Joe Girardi really needs Tanaka to become a reliable starter again. Perhaps a less than average A’s lineup can help Tanaka stay the course.

Hahn has been up and down for the A’s this season, but does carry a respectable 3.56 ERA through 11 starts. He surrendered three earned runs in five innings of work against the Rays on Sunday, after throwing six shutout innings against the Blue Jays in his start before that. This pretty much sums up Hahn’s season.

Nobody on the Yankees has more than six career at-bats against Hahn, but if Tanaka regresses and has another clunker, the bats better be ready to bail him out.

Game Four: TBD vs Jharel Cotton

This would have been Sabathia’s spot, and the team has yet to announce exactly who will fill the role in the series finale. Chad Green started for the Yanks on Sunday to give Tanaka an extra day of rest and gave up two runs in just two innings. He may get another go this Sunday and with a day off on Monday, the bullpen could provide some long relief should Green only go two or three innings.

Cotton, a 25-year-old right hander, is coming off a rough start in Miami in which he was rocked for five runs in five innings, with four of those runs coming in the fifth inning. Cotton has an ERA of 5.52 in his first full major league season.