Series are a very strange way to structure a season, but it definitely gives a team over the course of a very long year small, concrete goals. In theory, if you win every series of the season, you'll finish as a first place team. So, pushing your team to win series after series is a way of still focusing on a bigger picture than winning or losing a particular game, but not so big a picture as to get lost in the forest. That being said, the Yankees had a terrible stretch of losing series. After going on their longest series win drought since 1991, the Yankees are in the position of winning their fourth straight. That's incredibly big, and it's the reason why their playoff odds now sit at 81% according to FanGraphs, as opposed to 49% after the break.
Tonight the Yankees will have one of their best pitchers on the mound, CC Sabathia. There was a time when we really thought he was toast, and he has actually been one of the best starters on the staff, which is very weird to think about. Over his last ten starts he has a 2.15 ERA, and he's lucky to be pitching at the Stadium, because this year he has a 2.29 ERA at home.
On the other side is Anibal Sanchez, the once-great starter who has since devolved into a 5.02 ERA true talent pitcher, according to ZiPS. He's been even worse this year, so it's hard to believe that he could regress positively, sporting a 6.18 ERA and a 1.96 HR/9. He'll be pitching in a bandbox, and facing largely the same lineup as last night sans Jacoby Ellsbury and Ronald Torreyes, but that's not a big change. The key for tonight is to smash a pitcher who is prone to giving up a lot of runs, and to take the series at home.
Go Yankees, go baseball.
|DETROIT TIGERS||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Ian Kinsler - 2B||Brett Gardner - CF|
|Mikie Mahtook - CF||Clint Frazier - LF|
|Justin Upton - LF||Aaron Judge - RF|
|Miguel Cabrera - DH||Gary Sanchez - C|
|Nick Castellanos - 3B||Didi Gregorius - SS|
|James McCann - C||Matt Holliday - DH|
|John Hicks - 1B||Chase Headley - 1B|
|Dixon Machado - SS||Todd Frazier - 3B|
|Andrew Romine - RF||Tyler Wade - 2B|
|Anibal Sanchez - RHP||CC Sabathia - LHP|