Opposite dugout: Yankees bring plenty of punch to the party

yankees-logo.jpgManager: Aaron Boone (1st season)

Record: 35-17

Last 10 games: 6-4

Who to watch: 2B Gleyber Torres (26 RBIs), SS Didi Gregorius (35 RBIs), 3B Miguel Andújar (.290), RF Aaron Judge (15 HR, 40 RBIs), DH Giancarlo Stanton (11 HR, 29 RBIs), LHP Aroldis Chapman (12 saves)

Season series vs. Orioles: 1-3

Pitching probables:

May 31: RHP Sonny Gray (3-4) vs. RHP Andrew Cashner (2-6), 7:05 p.m., MASN
June 1: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (6-2) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (3-4), 7:05 p.m., MASN
June 2: RHP Domingo Germán (0-3) vs. RHP Alex Cobb (1-7), 4:05 p.m., MASN
June 3: LHP CC Sabathia (2-1) vs. RHP Dylan Bundy (3-6), 1:05 p.m., MASN

Inside the Yankees:

This four-game series kicks off an 11-game road trip for the Yankees. They just finished taking two of three from the defending world champion Astros in the Bronx and sit two games behind their archrivals, the Red Sox atop the American League East. The Bronx Bombers bring a very potent lineup to the hitter-friendly confines of Camden Yards and Orioles pitchers have their work cut out for them.

Boasting some of the most intimidating power hitters on the planet, it’s no wonder the Evil Empire leads the majors in home runs and RBIs. Right fielder Aaron Judge, showing no signs of a sophomore jinx, leads the way. Opposing pitchers know that, of course, and tend to approach him cautiously, which puts him among the majors’ leading recipients of bases on balls. Problem is, the Yanks in the offseason acquired another big bopper, Giancarlo Stanton, to bat behind Judge. After signing a king-sized contract, Stanton had a regal opening day in Toronto, but then accumulated way too many strikeouts - five on April 3 alone - and endured the boos of the Yankee Stadium crowd. May has been much kinder to him, as his home run pace has quickened and his average reached respectable levels. Second baseman Gleyber Torres, all of 21, is making a strong bid to become this year’s Judge, punctuating his rookie season by homering in four straight games last week. Another youngster turning heads is rookie third baseman Miguel Andújar, who has hits in 15 of his last 18 games. Shortstop Didi Gregorius and catcher Gary Sánchez (12 homers, 11 doubles) provide the Yanks with more pop, and are closest to Judge on the Bombers’ list of RBI men. Leadoff hitter Brett Gardner has endured a few dry spells at the plate but has brought his on-base percentage to .363, and can still get it done on the base paths at 34. With five stolen bases, Gardner shares the team lead in that category with center fielder Aaron Hicks.

Considering the team’s offensive prowess, the Yankee pitching staff might be better than it needs to be, ranking fifth in the league in fewest home runs allowed, fourth in ERA, third in earned runs allowed and third in strikeouts. Sonny Gray (5.98 ERA) starts tonight’s opener. Gray struggled in his last outing, giving up five runs on seven hits before exiting with two outs in the fourth inning at home against the Angels May 26, but went eight strong innings in Kansas City to earn a win May 20. Friday starter Masahiro Tanaka (4.62 ERA) has had at least the first five innings covered in each of his 11 starts this year, but has surrendered a home run or two in all but one of them. Since Jordan Montgomery went down with elbow issues almost a month ago, Domingo Germán has filled his spot in the rotation. Germán, who has a 5.45 ERA and has yet to pick up a win in four starts, gets the call on Saturday. Veteran lefty CC Sabathia works Sunday’s finale. The 37-year-old has been unable to get through five innings a few times this season, but has kept his ERA down to 3.55.

Lefty flamethrower Aroldis Chapman (1.54 ERA) is bouncing back from a 2017 that wasn’t up to his usual standards. He’s blown just one save so far this season, and instead ended up with a win in that game. Sharing setup duties have been longtime Yankees Dellin Betances (4.30 ERA, three holds) and David Robertson (4.21 ERA, nine holds) - Robertson spent two seasons and change in Chicago before the White Sox traded him back to the Yanks last July - along with Chad Green (2.42 ERA, six holds). Chasen Shreve (4.82 ERA) works as skipper Aaron Boone’s pre-ninth-inning lefty. and The Orioles might be happy to see Jonathan Holder coming in from the Yankee bullpen, despite his 2.95 ERA. Holder, who has worked a variety of relief roles, took his only loss of the season against the Birds on April 6, surrendering four runs in the 14th inning on a walk and two hits, which included Pedro Álvarez’s grand slam.

blog comments powered by Disqus