After an offday on Monday, the Yankees are back at it. The club won four of six last week versus AL West foes and now has a chance to stack wins against a team that is on pace to win 40 games this season. Yes, you saw that correctly. Coming into tonight, Oakland boasts (if that is the correct word) a .250 winning percentage through 80 games. In short, this is a really good chance for New York to pile up some victories.
Jhony Brito gets the call and the ball tonight. Brito came back to the big club last week and outdueled Mariners ace Luis Castillo in a matchup against Seattle. Despite a hot first two starts to the season and last week’s gem, it has been a struggle for the righty in 2023, at both the big league and Triple-A levels. In 46 MLB innings, he is striking out too few (6.46 K/9) and walking too many (3.72 BB/9). Brito will make Oakland contend with his heater, which he throws approximately half the time with very good velocity (though the changeup remains his out pitch).
Oakland meanwhile sends Paul Blackburn out to face New York. This could be a tough matchup. An All-Star in 2022, Blackburn has excelled in 2023 at making opposing hitters chase – his chase rate ranks in the 95th percentile across MLB. Meanwhile, when batters do get wood on the ball, they tend to not hit it very hard. Blackburn’s 29.5-percent hard-hit rate sits in the 91st percentile among big league pitchers. Despite the high chase rate, he has had trouble getting the third strike, so if the Yankees can manage to hit the ball hard, they should be in good shape.
Gleyber Torres gets the night off in the always-interesting game of musical batting order that the Yankees play. DJ LeMahieu slides into the leadoff spot and takes Gleyber’s place at second base. Josh Donaldson returns to the lineup playing third and hitting sixth. Perhaps keep an eye on Anthony Volpe who, in a small sample size, has rediscovered the base on balls with four of them in his past seven contests. During that time, he’s running an .808 OPS. If he can get on base and get back to being the base stealing threat he was to start the season, that could portend good things. A hot bat to watch: Billy McKinney. Over his past 15 games, McKinney has a .945 OPS and four round-trippers. More of that would be wonderful.
Get off to a hot start on the road, fellas. Win in Oakland. That is the message.
How to watch
Location: Oakland Coliseum – Oakland, CA
First pitch: 9:40 pm ET
TV broadcast: YES, NBCSA, MLBN (out-of-market only)
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280 / A’s Cast, Bloomberg 960 AM/103.7 HD2, KIQI 1010
Online stream: MLB.tv