Last week was weird and often very frustrating, but the Yankees came away from two home matchups against the Mariners and Rangers with two series wins. With those in the books, it’s time for them to hit the road again, as they’re set to head out west and take on another AL West team: the Oakland Athletics.
The A’s have been one of the bigger stories in baseball in recent weeks, and not for the best of reasons. Their likely soon to be finalized move to Las Vegas has been a major talking point recently. While the move is by no means imminent, this will likely be one of the Yankees’ final couple trips to Oakland.
On the field, the Athletics are, well, not great. When these two teams met back in the Bronx in early May, the A’s were on pace for an all-time horrific record. They’ve actually played a little better in June, but still come into this series with just a .250 winning percentage. The Yankees will obviously come into this series as favorite to win it, and maybe even sweep, but with the way they’ve played considering the injury situation, they shouldn’t take things lightly.
Before the action kicks off tonight, let’s take a look at the expected pitching matchups for the next couple days.
Tuesday: Jhony Brito vs. Paul Blackburn (9:40 pm ET)
Recalled last week with the Yankees needing a fifth starter due to injuries, Brito put in a very nice outing against the Mariners. He went 5.2 innings against Seattle, allowing just two hits, a walk, and no runs as the Yankees beat the M’s. Adding to the impressiveness is that he went toe-to-toe with Luis Castillo and didn’t blink. Of course, he was good to start the season as well, only for teams to eventually figure some stuff out against him, so it remains to be seen if he can follow that outing up.
After missing nearly the first two months of the season, Blackburn has been one of Oakland’s best starters on the season, which hasn’t exactly been a massive ask. His 4.21 ERA equates to a below average 96 ERA+, and he got shelled by the Guardians in his most recent start. He has had some success against the Yankees in his career (2.70 ERA), albeit in just 10 innings over two games.
Wednesday: Domingo Germán vs. JP Sears (9:40 pm ET)
Germán is coming off by far his worst start of the season, as he was tagged for 10 runs (eight earned) in just 3.1 innings against the Mariners on Thursday. In the start before that, he lasted just two innings after giving up seven runs against Boston. Since coming back from his “sticky stuff” suspension he has a 7.77 ERA, and that includes two starts where he went 6+ frames with just one run allowed. The Athletics are a team that he could theoretically get back on track against, but he has to go out there and do it.
You may remember Sears as one of the players traded by the Yankees to Oakland in the so-far less than stellar Frankie Montas trade. This year, he’s been a regular in the A’s rotation and has arguably been their best starter — although again, that’s nothing to write home about. He faced the Yankees back in May in the Bronx, where he was tagged for five runs in 5.1 innings.
Thursday: Clarke Schmidt vs. TBD (3:37 pm ET)
After a slow start to the season, Schmidt has been good of late, putting up a 2.19 ERA in 37 innings over his last seven starts. That includes a very solid start against a good Rangers offense in the series over the weekend. One of his previous best starts — during the early part of the season when he was struggling — came against Oakland on May 9th. He allowed two runs in six innings while striking out seven.
At time of writing, the A’s have not officially named a starter for Thursday’s series finale. If we follow their general pitching order from recent weeks, another one-time Yankees organization member James Kaprielian would be in line to get this start. However, considering they haven’t officially said that, we shall see.