Another series in the books, another Yankee injured. This time Clint Frazier went down with a sprained ankle and is set to miss about two weeks. At least Gary Sanchez is back and hopefully he’ll stick around the rest of the season. At this point, the 2019 Yankees’ lineup is starting to look a lot like the 2013 lineup.
Despite all the shelved talent, the Yankees are still finding ways to win games. The rolled off six wins in a row before ultimately settling for three-of-four in Anaheim. They’ve got five games left in this West Coast trip, and the next three are against the San Francisco Giants.
Game one: James Paxton vs. Madison Bumgarner
Game one is definitely the premier matchup in this series. James Paxton comes into today’s start coming off two consecutive 12-strikeout starts, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see him feast on this Giants’ lineup. As a team, the Giants don’t strikeout a ton, but overall, they’re a terrible offensive team. They do put the ball in play, but their team-wide 65 wRC+ means not much comes from it. They’re also the worst team in the league at generating walks.
The Giants will roll out Madison Bumgarner to counter Paxton. Bumgarner comes into today’s start sporting a 3.66 ERA, 3.93 FIP, and a 113 ERA+. It’s clear Bumgarner’s trying to reinvent himself as a sinker/cutter pitcher a la CC Sabathia, and it’s seems to be working thus far. His K/BB and Whiff% numbers have rebounded nicely this season after a pretty dismal showing in 2018, but it might not last. He’s still allowing a lot of loud contact and among the bottom 25% of pitchers in exit velocity allowed.
Game two: J.A. Happ vs. Derek Holland
What a season for J.A. Happ so far, huh? The strikeouts have taken a step back this season and the homers have really taken gotten out of control. Happ’s surrendered at least one home run in each of his starts this season and is on pace to give up 47 homers on the season. It’s been bad, but at least Happ gets to pitch in one of the league’s most pitcher-friendly parks on Saturday.
Of course, playing in Oracle Park doesn’t guarantee a pitcher won’t surrender the big fly. Just ask Derek Holland. Like Happ, the Giants’ 32-year-old lefty has given up at least one homer in every start this season, including two in San Francisco. When he’s not giving up homers, Holland strikes a lot of hitters out. His 11.3 K/9 rate is tops in the Giants’ rotation. Other than that, Holland’s overall performance this season has been just below league average. He owns a 4.33 ERA and a 5.04 FIP.
Game three: Domingo German vs. Dereck Rodriguez
Domingo German might be starting to put it all together. For the last couple of seasons, Yankee fans have heard about how great his stuff can be, and it’s finally showing up in the box score. German is right up there with Paxton as the best pitchers in the rotation, statistically speaking. His 263 ERA+ is by far the best on the team, and his 0.818 WHIP is certainly easy on the eyes too. Walks still hover around 3 BB/9, but all in all, he’s been a much more composed pitcher this season than we’ve seen in year’s past.
Opposite German is Dereck Rodriguez, the son of Yankee legend and Hall of Famer, Ivan Rodriguez. The 26-year-old Rodriguez debuted for the Giants last May and has so far been a solid rotation piece. He posted a sub-3 ERA last year in 118.1 innings and is off to a similar start this season. Rodriguez isn’t a blow-you-away kind of pitcher, but he does legitimately use five-pitches.
Rejoice non-Western Time Zone Yankee fans. Tonight’s game is a 10:15 EST start, but games two and three of this series start at 4:05 EST. Also be sure to keep an eye out for former Yankees on the Giants. Tyler Austin, Erik Kratz, and Yangervis Solarte make up most of the Giants’ bench.