Fresh off a sweep of the Twins, the Yankees head out to the west coast for a three-game series against the Angels. Having won six games in a row, the Bombers make for one of the hottest teams in baseball. Can they keep it up in Anaheim?
Last season the Yankees struggled to put away the Angels. The 2 - 4 record against them says as much. New York also seems to always lose crushing games at Angel Stadium. Remember when Eric Young Jr. got his revenge last June? Yeah. Let’s hope this club can shake off those bad memories.
Thankfully it’s a different season with a bunch of new faces. How do these two teams stack up? It’s closer than you think. Let’s just hope that no one will pull a Matt Holliday and turn to stone on this trip.
Game One: Luis Severino vs. Andrew Heaney
Severino picked up right where he left off last season. He’s the undisputed ace of the Yankees, with a 2.32 ERA on the season. His 2.48 FIP and 9.87 K/9 rate reinforce the fact that he’s for real. In his last outing, Severino looked unhittable. He tossed seven effortless innings of one-run ball against the Blue Jays. The more he pitches, the better he looks.
Heaney, on the other hand, owns a 9.64 ERA over two games. The oft-injured southpaw has some frightening peripherals too. It’s a small simple size, but that 5.54 FIP doesn’t look great. He also struggles to keep the ball in the park. A healthy Heaney is good news for baseball. but it looks like the Yankees are catching him in the rust-busting phase.
Game Two: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Garrett Richards
His season numbers may not look good, but it’s possible Tanaka turned the corner in his last start. The 5.28 ERA and 4.33 FIP aren’t shiny, but he held the Twins’ offense to just one run over 6.2 innings. It’s now clear that he must give up a home run a game, but I remain hopeful moving forward.
Remember when Richards was really good in 2014? He never repeated that success, due to health or ineffectiveness, but he hasn’t been terrible either. So far in 2018, the hard-throwing righty has a 3.46 ERA and 4.46 FIP. His 1.38 HR/9 bodes well for the Yankees, as does the 5.54 BB/9. The Bombers have a reputation for power and patience. Those traits would serve them well against Richards.
Game Three: CC Sabathia vs. Tyler Skaggs
During his last outing, Sabathia looked like a fine-tuned machine. He kept Minnesota off the board, tossing six innings of shutout ball. The big left-hander was on cruise control. Sabathia’s dramatically outperforming his peripherals — there’s a big difference between his 1.86 ERA and 4.89 FIP — but for a veteran, it’s all about the results. If he can keep getting outs, I don’t care how he does it.
Skaggs, 26, has a few things going for him. He generates a ton of groundballs (51.2% rate) and keeps the ball in the park (0.33 HR/9). He also has a pretty great first name, if you ask me. In all seriousness, Skaggs represents the Angels’ best starter not named Shohei Ohtani. This game will probably be the biggest challenge for the Bombers.