If you remember all the way back to July 1st, the Yankees and Angels were washed out of a game at Yankee Stadium. Time’s march is inevitable, and the makeup date of August 16th has arrived. The Yankees will welcome back their ace while still avoiding the game’s best player, giving them a good shot at building a three-game win streak.
Monday: Gerrit Cole vs. José Suarez (7:05pm Eastern)
Cole’s back after his COVID-19 IL stint, and throwing a bullpen over the weekend to get back into game shape. By his own admission, he’s feeling 100 percent and will be looking to add to his Cy Young candidacy with a strong start. He has yet to face the Angels this season, but after a rocky June, the Yankees’ ace has struck out 38.2 percent of the hitters he’s faced since July 1st, managing a FIP and xFIP below 2.50.
Suarez, meanwhile, is having a solid season for himself, splitting time between the bullpen and rotation with a 3.90 ERA and 4.04 xERA. The 23-year old notched a win against these very same Yankees this season, throwing 5.1 innings of one-run, two-hit ball back on June 28. He features a fastball that will sit 93, and a changeup and curveball that play off each other well. He’s not a very complicated pitcher, but the opposite break of those two pitches makes him dangerous once he’s ahead in the count.
Of course, the big stories with the Angels will always be Mike Trout and Shohei Ohtani. The Yankees dodged a bullet by missing Trout in the series back in June, and the best player in baseball is still on the shelf six weeks later. His recovery from a calf injury is taking longer than expected, and while the club has no plans to shut him down as of yet, he’ll be out at least one more game. While you never want a player to be hurt, especially one of Trout’s caliber, not having him in the lineup does favor the Yankees.
Ohtani, meanwhile is still probably the favorite for AL MVP, but even he’s cooled off his torrid pace somewhat. Since the All Star Break he’s managed “just” a 132 wRC+, almost entirely off the back of his power production, seeing his OBP and average drop. He’s still an excellent player, of course, but more of the “wow he’s good” variety, less of the “oh my God how did he do that” type that we’ve seen most of the season. He’s hit very well at Yankee Stadium this season, hitting three home runs in 11 plate appearances at YSIII. It’s a park well-built for a player with his talent, and he’s definitely the bat to watch in the Angels lineup.