The Yankees may have seen their win streak end in Oakland, and it ended rather poorly, but on the whole it was still a decent series for them against the Athletics. They split a series against a fellow Wild Card contender in a place that had been a house of horrors for them in recent years.
Next up, the Yankees will continue their west coast road trip, moving a couple hours south to take on the Angels. The two teams split a four-game meeting in the Bronx with weather causing a postponement of the fourth. As it happens, when those games happened tells the season of the Yankees’ season so far. The first three came during maybe the most frustrating stretch of the season, and the Yankees lost two of three. The fourth, which happened a month and half after the initial series, was the third win of the eventual 13-game win streak.
Since the first couple games in the Bronx, the Angels have been a fairly middling team, going 25-26. Considering that their overall season record is three games under .500, that’s about right. One person who has not been middling has been Shohei Ohtani. While his hitting numbers since the end of June are slightly below his overall season numbers, he’s hit another 13 home runs, and also been better on the mound. The Yankees will have to deal with both aspects of him this week.
Before the game begins tonight, let’s take a look at the pitching matchups we’ll get over the next couple days.
Monday: Corey Kluber vs. TBD (9:38 pm ET)
Good news is, Kluber threw a no-hitter just two starts ago. Bad news is, that no-hitter was in May and this will be his first start back after a long IL stint. After missing a couple months with shoulder issues, Kluber will return in the opener against the Angels. His rehab starts weren’t the most impressive, and he’s not going to be stretched out to go very deep into the game. Expect another pitcher to piggyback with him, possibly Andrew Heaney.
The Angels haven’t announced anything for Monday so far. Their normal rotation order would’ve meant Dylan Bundy taking the mound, but he just hit the IL with a shoulder strain following his most recent start. His injury means the Angels have an open spot, and at time of writing, they haven’t revealed a plan for it.
Tuesday: Jameson Taillon vs. Shohei Ohtani (9:38 pm ET)
After a long stretch of good to great outings, Taillon has been sputtering a bit of late. Over his last three starts, he’s allowed 11 runs, with the longest outing being 5.1 innings. He especially struggled in his most recent appearance, allowing the Athletics to get back into the game after the Yankees had opened up a 6-0 lead on Thursday.
The Yankees quite notably didn’t have any issues against the pitching side of Ohtani’s double act when the teams faced off in the Bronx. Ohtani became one of just a handful of people to both hit leadoff and be the starting pitcher in the same game back on June 30th. However, he lasted just 0.2 innings on the mound, as the Yankees got him for seven runs. (Don’t ask about what happened later in that game.) Since then, Ohtani has been really good as a pitcher, putting up a 2.20 ERA in his last 45 innings. He’s also drastically cut down on walks, giving just four batters free passes in that time. That’s the same amount that he walked in that brief outing against the Yankees, which was his main issue that day.
Wednesday: Gerrit Cole vs. Jaime Barria (7:07 pm ET)
In his last start, Cole became the fastest Yankee starter to record 200 strikeouts in a season, doing so in his 24th start of the season. Oh, and he also shutout a good A’s team over six innings in that same game. Since returning from the COVID IL, Cole has allowed just one run in 17.2 innings. That one run came against the Angels back in the rescheduled game on August 16th.
Barria has only become a regular in the Angels’ rotation since late July, and he’s been up and down. In his first three starts, he allowed just five runs in 19.2 innings. However in the three since then, he’s allowed nine runs, and the longest outing of the bunch was three innings.