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New York Yankees vs. Los Angeles Angels: Series Preview

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The Yankees return home from an embarrassing sweep at Fenway just in time for a four-game set against the Halos

Kansas City Royals v New York Yankees Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It was not a good weekend for the Yankees. They slink back to the Bronx with their tails between their legs after being swept, again, by the Red Sox. There’s no time to dwell on the recent failures, as they have a quick turnaround arriving home just in time to host the Angels for four games. Let’s take a look at the probable pitching matchups.

Monday: Michael King vs. Dylan Bundy, 7:05 PM ET

Michael King will have to pitch far better than he has since he joined the rotation if the Yankees are to start the series on the right foot. He logged his best outing as a starter last time out against the Royals — two earned runs in 4.2 innings — but his ERA still stands at an ugly 5.75 in five starts. He hasn’t put away guys upon getting to two strikes — his .351 wOBA in two-strike counts is sixth-worst among MLB starters — and he hasn’t escaped jams, allowing around 40 percent of his baserunners to score. In 12 games, King is 0-3 with a 4.05 ERA, 4.40 FIP, and 34 strikeouts in 40 innings.

His opponent, Dylan Bundy, was supposed to be the ace of the Angels staff after a career year in 2020. He has been anything but, his 0.1 fWAR placing him dead last in LA’s rotation. He gives up almost two home runs per nine and is sporting the lowest strikeout rate of his career. He faced the Yankees 13 times as an Oriole, and got bashed to the tune of a 6.52 ERA. In 13 starts this year, Bundy is 1-7 with a 6.68 ERA, 5.27 FIP, and 60 strikeouts in 63.1 innings.

Tuesday: Jameson Taillon vs. Andrew Heaney, 7:05 PM ET

Jameson Taillon is coming off easily his best start of the year, 6.1 innings of one-run ball against the Royals. In his post game press conference he mentioned using a more democratic pitch mix and changing up the sequencing each time through the order as keys to his effectiveness. If that is indeed the recipe for success, let’s hope he continues to build on that strategy Tuesday night. In 14 starts, Taillon is 2-4 with a 5.18 ERA, 4.35 FIP, and 69 strikeouts in 64.1 innings.

Andrew Heaney, for his career, has exemplified the definition of a pedestrian starter. To be fair, he is in the midst of a career year, with his stuff evolving to become truly wipeout material. He owns the best K-BB% of his career, and is in the 72nd percentile or better for walk rate, strikeout rate, whiff rate, and chase rate. He allowed only one run in each of his first three career starts against the Yankees, though did give up six last time they faced in 2019. In 13 starts, Heaney is 4-5 with a 4.72 ERA, 3.68 FIP, and 85 strikeouts in 68.2 innings

Wednesday: Domingo Germán vs. Shohei Ohtani, 7:05 PM ET

Domingo Germán’s first two-and-a-half months looked so promising before falling prey to the regression monster. In each of his last three starts, he has given up at least four runs while failing to surpass 4.1 innings, and his ERA over that span is seven runs higher than starts one through eleven. One culprit, among many, is that batters just aren’t chasing pitches out of the zone at the same rate as they were. In 14 starts, Germán is 4-5 with a 4.32 ERA, 4.54 FIP, and 66 strikeouts in 73 innings.

The man everyone wanted to see this series goes Wednesday night. Shohei Ohtani is doing things we never imagined when he first arrived in MLB. There are so many stats that encapsulate his greatness, but I’ll leave you with just this one: he owns the seventh-hardest hit ball all season (119 mph) and is one of 14 pitchers to throw a pitch at least 101 mph this year. On the batting side, he is tied with Fernando Tatís Jr. for second in MLB in home runs (25), trailing only Vlad Guerrero Jr. (26), and possesses the highest expected slugging and barrel rate in the league. On the pitching side, his splitter is one of the best pitches in baseball, carrying the 12th-highest strikeout rate (64.9 percent) of any pitch in MLB. In 11 starts, Ohtani is 3-1 with a 2.58 ERA, 3.64 FIP, and 82 strikeouts in 59.1 innings.

Thursday: Jordan Montgomery vs. Griffin Canning: 1:05 PM ET

Jordan Montgomery will start the series finale. Even with Gerrit Cole pitching in the series, it was Montgomery who turned in the best start in the three games against the Red Sox. His three runs allowed in six innings was a valiant effort against a dangerous Boston lineup and should have been enough to keep his team in it, but this is the Yankees offense we’re talking about. In fifteen starts, Montgomery is 3-2 with a 4.06 ERA, 3.54 FIP, and 80 strikeouts in 82 innings.

Griffin Canning gets the ball opposite Montgomery. The Angels youngster throws a combination of four-seamer, slider, and changeup about 90 percent of the time with the odd curveball mixed in every once in a while. He owns the fourteenth-worst groundball rate (34.8 percent) among starting pitchers and will give up his fair share of home runs. In thirteen games (twelve starts), Canning is 5-4 with a 4.95 ERA, 5.03 FIP, and 62 strikeouts in 60 innings.