The Yankees are back home for a ten-game homestand starting Friday evening, and two of their big bats should be rejoining them in the next couple of days. Unfortunately, all of that is somewhat overshadowed by the fact that the team will be waiting for Major League Baseball to hand down suspensions following Thursday’s [rhymes with knit glow] against the Tigers.
Starlin Castro and Greg Bird are due back any day now, and their presence will be needed as the team could be looking at multiple games without their best hitter, Gary Sanchez. That feels much more important than the series against the Mariners itself, but Seattle is still in the Wild Card race and these are still games the Yankees need to win.
Game 1: CC Sabathia vs. Ariel Miranda
Sabathia pitched a brilliant game his last time out against the Red Sox in his return from a brief knee injury. The Mariners, comparatively, should be an easier task for the Yankee left-hander. The big man is wrapping up what has been a pretty successful season for him with an ERA under 4.00 and ten wins under his belt. No one is really sure what the future holds for CC, or what future his knees will allow him to have as a big league player, so seeing him succeed at this stage is very enjoyable.
The Mariners have traded wins and losses in Miranda’s last few starts, but he did earn a win his last time out in five three-run innings against the Tampa Bay Rays. Miranda hasn’t been able to pitch very deep into games since two consecutive seven-inning outings back at the end of June, which is something to keep an eye on.
Game 2: Sonny Gray vs. Yovani Gallardo
Gray has been quite good as a Yankee, even though some of his statistics don’t show it. A lot of that has to do with the fact that his offense has run bone dry with him on the mound. If there is a pitcher out there who could change that fortune for Gray, Gallardo is a fantastic candidate.
Gallardo has a 5.75 ERA this season, but his last outing against the Rays actually went okay. Before that, however, he allowed eight runs in four innings to the Orioles. That’s the Gallardo we expect to see. The Yankees’ offense is certainly capable of making him look like that again if they are firing on all cylinders.
Game 3: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Andrew Albers
It has been a very unTanaka-like season so far with a losing record and an ERA hovering around 5.00, but Tanaka has shown signs of turning things around as of late. His last start was a six-inning, three-run outing against the Tigers, and he has lowered his ERA almost a full run since the end of June.
Albers has just two starts this season, but he has picked up a win in each of them. He gave up one run in five innings against the Orioles and three earned runs against the Braves his last time out. Hopefully the Yankees can figure out how to handle the rookie in the series finale.