They redeemed the series somewhat on Sunday, but for the first time all season, the Yankees are coming off getting punched in the mouth. Sure, they struggled a bit early in the season, but you can put some of those losses down to injuries and the like. That same excuse doesn’t explain last weekend’s struggles.
The series against the Red Sox was just the fourth they’ve lost since the start of May. Coincidentally, one of the other four teams on that list is next up.
Back on April 30 and May 1, the Yankees lost a pair of games to the Diamondbacks out in Arizona. Three months later, they’re coming out to New York for another short two-game set. Quite a lot has changed, especially for the Yankees, since then, so let’s see how the pitching matchups shake out for this week’s series.
Tuesday: J.A. Happ vs. Taylor Clarke
For three innings, it appeared as if Happ would be the Yankees’ beacon in the storm that was the pitching in the Twins’ series. However, he too ended up getting lit up, and was removed after 3.1 innings and six runs. Prior to that start, Happ had a sub-3.00 ERA in July. On the other hand, the last time he made it past 5.1 innings was June 6. Even with the off day on Monday, the Yankees could really use him at least getting through six innings.
Clarke is in his first season in the majors, and it hasn’t gone great up to this point. The rookie comes into this game with a 6.10 ERA, a 1.529 WHIP, and a 6.32 FIP. One little weird thing about his season is that he has 12 appearances total and 11 starts. In the one game he didn’t start, he recorded a save. That was his major league debut, where he threw three scoreless innings. He hasn’t had a scoreless outing since.
Wednesday: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Zack Greinke
If you take out the last start and his one in London, Tanaka’s season hasn’t been horrible. Those two games alone account for more than a run on his 4.79 ERA. Of course, you can’t take those games away, and the last one in particular was notable in its futility. Tanaka became just the second Yankee pitcher ever to have given up at least 12 earned runs in a game last Thursday. It’s been a horror show of a July for Tanaka, but he has a chance to end it on a positive note, if he can right the wrongs from the last time he faced Arizona. Back in May, he lasted just four innings in a Yankees loss out in the desert.
Ten years after his Cy Young-winning season, Greinke is still really, really good. He comes into this game with a 155 ERA+. The only two seasons he’s had better than that are 2009, the aforementioned Cy Young season, and 2015, when he finished second. Greinke was excellent against the Yankees back in April, but that’s when the team was the most injured. It was so long ago that Thairo Estrada and Tyler Wade were both in the starting lineup. It will be a very different starting nine this time around, but Greinke’s good enough that the result might not be too different.