During this upcoming West Coast trip, the Yankees will face three of the lowest-scoring teams in the American League. The Mariners, Athletics and Angels each rank in the bottom five in runs, home runs and slugging percentage. That’s the good news.
The bad news is on the mound where the Yankees will face some of the game’s very best pitching during these next nine games. Assuming the rotations stay on line, two of the three opposing starters — in each series — legitimately will be among the very best pitchers in baseball. And there are no cupcakes during this stretch. On this road trip, even the worst scheduled starters will be pretty good.
Weekend series, 5/27 – 5/29
Hernandez is what he is, and Pineda might be the best rookie starter in the American League. His past two starts: 14 innings, 5 hits, 0 earned runs, 1 walk and 16 strikeouts. Obviously Vargas is the lesser of three evils, but through his past four starts he’s 2-0 with a 1.91 ERA.
Immediately after the Mariners series, 5/30 – 6/1
The A’s don’t have an off day until the end of their series against the Yankees, so I have to assume their rotation will stay on turn. That means the A’s will have their top three starters lined up for the series. Anderson was a little better in April than he’s been in May, but the other two have been outstanding all season. Gonzalez is allowing a .186 opponents batting average this month, and he’s actually been better against righties than lefties.
The Yankees have an off day after Oakland, then an L.A weekend 6/3 – 6/5
This is a little bit of guesswork because the Angels also have an off day before this series, but if they stay on rotation, they’ll have their top two starters opening this series. If they wanted to, they could push Joel Pineiro (2-0, 2.67) in the finale, but right now that’s Santana’s turn. Regardless of what the Angels do at the end of the series, the big test will be in those first two games against Weaver and Haren.
Associated Press photo of Hernandez, headshots of Pineda, Cahill and Weaver