The Athletics dismantled much of their team this offseason, yet they’ve remained in the playoff hunt because of a few surprises and a few impressive additions. As the Yankees try to avoid a four-game series sweep this afternoon, two things have stood out this weekend.
This team can really pitch
We’re past the All-Star break, so it’s hard to call this a fluke at this point. The A’s have the lowest ERA in the American League, and they have it despite four rookies in their starting rotation. The Yankees have seen A.J. Griffin, Tommy Milone and Jarrod Parker the past three nights, and all three shutdown this offense.
“I would say they’ve been throwing strikes,” Robinson Cano said. “Especially the guy from (Friday) night, (Milone). They’re throwing their pitches whenever they want. They’re throwing a lot of strikes. Like I say, you have to give them credit.”
In today’s finale, the Yankees won’t be facing a rookie. They’ll be facing Bartolo Colon, who has a 3.88 ERA while continuing some of the things he did so well last season. The Yankees haven’t had any success against the young A’s starters. Maybe they’ll have some success against the familiar veteran.
“Bart’s another one of those guys, he’s not going to walk people,” Joe Girardi said. “He’s coming right at you. Here it is, I’m going to throw it, I’m going to locate it down and away and inside with movement. If you do something with it, do something with it.”
Yoenis Cespedes can really hit
He burst onto the scene this winter with a YouTube video and a ton of prospect hype. International free agents rarely become household names before they reach the big leagues, but Cespedes became an exception to the rule. The Athletics decided to take the risk with a big contract for a largely unknown player, and it’s paying off.
“You just hope nobody’s on base when you have to go through his at-bat,” Phil Hughes said. “Fortunately there wasn’t any guys on when he hit the first one (last night). From there, we just tried to go in to him. He’s patient for a guy that swings so hard. You normally expand the zone a little bit, but he hasn’t been. He’s impressive.”
During a current nine-game hitting streak, Cespedes has hit .576 with four home runs and 10 RBI.
“He’s strong. He hits the ball hard, squares it up on a consistent basis,” Girardi said. “We’re running into a hot hitter right now.”
Associated Press photo