The Yankees lost another series in Minnesota, but the bigger story was the acquisition of Todd Frazier, David Robertson and Tommy Kahnle. This four-game series against the Seattle Mariners figures to include the debut of Frazier in a Yankees uniform and the long awaited return of Roberton out of the bullpen.
On the other side, Cano and the Mariners have been playing better of late and sit just two back of the second Wild Card spot, held by the Yankees. It will be a big four-game series before the Yanks return home, and hopefully with the help of their new arrivals, they will return home with a sense of promise.
Let’s look at the pitching matchups:
Game One: Luis Severino vs Felix Hernandez
King Felix has been slowly returning to form since coming back from the DL in late June. He had to labor a bit in his last start against the White Sox, but he came away with a win while allowing three runs on six hits through five innings of work. Who should you keep an eye on against Hernandez? How about Todd Frazier, who is 4-8 with two home runs in his career against the righty.
The Yanks counter with their best in Severino, who was splendid on Saturday against the Red Sox. The game was so long that some forgot he even pitched, but he threw seven innings of one-run ball. Only three Mariners have had any kind of experience against Severino, with Cano being 2-3 in his abbreviated time against the youngster.
Game Two: CC Sabathia vs Andrew Moore
We have a crafty veteran against a rookie in game two as the lefty Sabathia takes on the righty Moore. Like Severino, Sabathia is coming off a great start in Boston in which he threw six shutout innings. He has had success against the Mariners as well. The current Mariners roster is hitting just .223 against him in their careers with a slugging percentage of .295.
Moore has never faced the Yankees, so given the Yankees’ history against young pitching they have never seen, they may run into some trouble. Moore has a 5.25 ERA in four starts this season and was most recently tagged for five runs in three innings against the White Sox.
Game Three: Masahiro Tanaka vs Ariel Miranda
Tanaka wasn’t awful in his last start against Boston when he ground out 7 2⁄3 innings of three-run ball. He recorded nine strikeouts as well, which was a welcoming sign after his rough outing against the Brewers in his previous start. Tanaka has even better numbers against the Mariners than Sabathia, and has owned Nelson Cruz, who is just 1-18 with seven strikeouts against Tanaka in his career.
Miranda is coming off two straight poor outings to raise his ERA to 4.35. He has been having a solid season, to help out what was a decimated Mariners pitching staff, but has allowed 11 earned runs in his last 10 2⁄3 innings. The only Yankee with any experience against Miranda is Todd Frazier, who is 0-4 with a couple of strikeouts.
Game Four: Luis Cessa vs Sam Gaviglio
The series finale will feature a couple of youngsters in Cessa and Gaviglio. They’re also both coming off disappointing performances in their last starts. Cessa lacked control against the Twins on Tuesday, issuing four walks in 3 2⁄3 innings and surrendering three earned runs. The Yankees need him to hold his own with the absence of Michael Pineda and the struggles of Tanaka. Hopefully Joe Girardi can get some quality innings before turning the ball over to an improved bullpen.
As for Gaviglio, he has allowed 12 runs over his last 10 2⁄3 innings, most recently getting knocked around by the Astros (who knock plenty of pitchers around). The Yanks haven’t faced Gaviglio yet, who holds a 4.62 ERA in 11 starts this season.