It’s hard to believe that the final homestand of the regular season is upon us. There’s no time for sentimentality, however, because these games turned important very quickly. The Yankees saw their lead on the first Wild Card spot evaporate, and now they need to treat this series with the Blue Jays as a must-win. This stretch will be nothing if not exciting, right?
Game one: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Marco Estrada
At this point Tanaka has to be the favorite to start the Wild Card Game, no? The right-hander’s overall season numbers are fine, as he’s pitched to a 3.61 ERA with a 4.04 FIP. It’s the second half excellence that has made him stand out. Since July 24th, he has posted a 2.30 ERA with a 2.80 FIP. This version of Tanaka is just the best.
Estrada, meanwhile, is having a downright miserable year. He has a 5.32 ERA with a 5.35 FIP over 130.1 innings pitched. He never struck out many, but is down to a 6.56 K/9 with a scary high 1.80 HR/9 rate. The 35-year-old has made three starts against the Yankees this season, allowing nine runs over 18 innings. It would be great to beat up on him again.
Game two: CC Sabathia vs. Sean Reid-Foley
The Yankees seriously need Sabathia to turn back the clocks down the stretch. In fact, it’s so pressing that Ryan wrote a full story on the matter yesterday. The veteran southpaw owns a 4.87 ERA (2.02 FIP) over his last four games. That includes a five-run clunker in Oakland where he only lasted 3.1 innings. Please get back on track, CC.
Reid-Foley, a rookie right-hander, has not gotten off to a good start in the big leagues. He’s tossed 21 innings worth of 6.86 ERA (6.63 FIP) ball since joining the Blue Jays rotation. The 23-year-old faced the Yankees in August, and he allowed eight runs (six earned) over 4.1 innings. Sign me up for that again!
Game three: Lance Lynn vs. Thomas Pannone
The wheels came off fast for Lynn, didn’t they? After a bright start, he crashed back down to Earth for the Yankees. The veteran right-hander has posted a 4.79 ERA in pinstripes. His 2.28 FIP is shiny, ditto his 10.02 K/9 rate. The results, however, haven’t been there. Lynn pitched against the Blue Jays last month, and he stumbled big time, allowing five runs over four innings in Toronto.
Pannone, 24, is having a slightly better season than Reid-Foley. The rookie southpaw has pitched to a 4.13 ERA (5.20 FIP) across 24 innings. He doesn’t strike many out (5.63 K/9) and gives up plenty of home runs (1.50 HR/9). Pannone tossed 1.1 innings of scoreless ball out of the bullpen against the Yankees last month. This will be their first look at him as a starter.
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