Heading home from a 4-4 road trip to start the second half of the season might be exactly what the Yankees need to get back on track. They welcome the Oakland Athletics in for a three game series that starts tonight at the stadium. The 43-55 A’s sit 12.5 games back in the American League West and could be the perfect opponent for the Yankees to get on a roll.
However, the Yankees will face the heart of Oakland’s starting rotation with Trevor Cahill (8-8 3.19 ERA), Rich Harden (1-1 5.00 ERA) and Gio Gonzalez (9-6 2.33 ERA) set to pitch in the weekend series. Cahill and Gonzalez are two of the top young pitchers in baseball and Harden is making his fourth start of the season after coming back from injuries.
The Oakland offense isn’t a force to be too concerned with having a total team batting average of .237 and only 53 home runs as a team. The Yankees will have to deal with their former teammate and 2009 World Series MVP, Hideki Matsui. The A’s have speed at the top of the line up with recent call-up Jemile Weeks and Coco Crisp. If the Yankee pitchers can keep those two off the bases, the Yankees pitchers will have a much easier time.
Phil Hughes takes the mound for the pinstripes on Friday night coming off of his first win this season. A.J. Burnett and Bartolo Colon will follow up Hughes on Saturday and Sunday respectively. The pitching from these three will be crucial in determining how aggressive the Yankees are in trading for a starter before the trade deadline.
The Yankess will take two of three in this weekend set against the Athletics because of their potent offense putting up runs and out muscling Oakland. Look for the Yanks to take the first two of this series.