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Series Preview: Cleveland Indians @ New York Yankees

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Last series was a bit of a bummer, but the Indians are only 0.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins for first place, so it’s not all bad. Unfortunately, the Twins are heading into a series with the mediocre Texas Rangers while the Tribe squares off against the very good New York Yankees.

Team in a box

2019 New York Yankees

Record 80-41
Record 80-41
Runs Scored 723
Runs Allowed 559
Run Differential +164
Last 10 8-2
AVG .272
OBP .346
SLG .488
OPS .834
wRC+ 116
K/9 9.30
BB/9 3.11

The Yankees sure can mash. And Aaron Judge has been absent for a good chunk of the season and Giancarlo Stanton is still injured. Yet the Yankees seem to have done just fine without significant contributions from their two main sluggers. Joy.

Projected starters

Thursday, August 15 7:05 p.m. ET: RHP Chad Green (v. Adam Plutko)

Chad Green was absolutely electric out of the bullpen for the Yankees in 2017 and 2018. This season, they’ve begun using him as an opener from time to time in addition to his normal workload; the results haven’t been great. In 48.0 innings in 41 games (11 “starts”), Green has allowed 25 earned runs while walking 12 and striking out 61 (ERA+ 95). I understand why the Yankees have wanted to try their hand at the opener strategy with Green; he’s got an electric fastball (97 mph) that’s great for strikeouts and a fantastic slider (88 mph) that’s good for getting groundballs. Hist most recent “start” came on August 12 against the Orioles; in that game, Green went 1.1 innings and allowed zero runs on no hits while walking no one and striking out 1.

Friday, August 16 7:05 p.m. ET: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (v. Aaron Civale)

It’s been a tough year for Masahiro Tanaka. He’s had flashes of brilliance here and there, but it seems like they’re interspersed with some real awful outings as well. All put together, across 137.2 innings of work in 24 starts, Tanaka has allowed 71 earned runs while walking 34 and striking out 114 (ERA+ 96). He still relies on his two-plane slider (83 mph) while also using a fourseam (92 mph) and his excellent splitter (87 mph) primarily. His most recent start came on August 11 against the Blue Jays; in that game, Tanaka went 8.0 innings and allowed no runs on 3 hits while walking no one and striking out 4.

Saturday, August 17 1:05 p.m. ET: LHP James Paxton (v. Zach Plesac)

James Paxton has had an average year. He hasn’t been great, but with a team as banged up as the Yankees, they’ll take any sort of production they can get. Across 108.1 innings in 21 starts, Paxton has allowed 53 earned runs while walking 41 and striking out 137 (ERA+ 101). Look for him to go primarily to his fourseam (96 mph) that will get hitters swinging and missing, but he’ll also use a cutter (88 mph) or sinker (95 mph) to get the same result. He also has a good curve (81 mph) that moves in a 12-6 pattern. His most recent start came on August 12 against the Orioles; in that game, Paxton went 6.0 innings and allowed 3 earned runs on 5 hits while walking 2 and striking out 7.

Sunday, August 18 1:05 p.m. ET: LHP CC Sabathia (v. Mike Clevinger)

Sabathia was on the 10-day IL with right knee inflammation, but the Yankees are hoping he’ll be back for the series against the Tribe. In Sabathia’s final year, he hasn’t pitched all that well. Across just 90.1 innings in 17 starts, Sabathia has allowed 48 earned runs while walking 30 and striking out 82 (ERA+ 93). At this point in his career, he’s using mainly a cutter (89 mph) and slider (80 mph), but he’ll also toss out a sinker (89 mph) and change (83 mph) at times as well; he’s almost all but ditched his fastball (90 mph). His most recent start came on July 27 against the Red Sox; in that game, Sabathia went 4.1 innings and allowed 5 earned runs on 9 hits while walking no one and striking out 3.

Lineup highlights

3B Gio Urshela: On the one hand, what a miss by the Indians. On the other hand, the Tribe has a pretty good third baseman in José Ramírez so it’s not all bad. But yes, there is an argument to be made that Gio Urshela has been the top hitter for the Yankees in 2019, which is absolutely mind boggling. Across 360 plate appearances in 101 games, Urshela is slashing .335/.378/.586 (wRC+ 149). I’m not sure where this sudden power surge came from, but that seems to be the source of Urshela’s recent explosion at the plate.

2B DJ LeMahieu: It’s strange when players move away from Coors Field and hit better. In all his years in Colorado, DJ LeMahieu only had one above average year (2016), the rest he was somewhere between below average and awful. This year, however, he’s going bonkers. Across 485 plate appearances in 108 games, LeMahieu is slashing .337/.386/.534 (wRC+ 141). He’s passed his personal record of home runs in a season (15) with 19 and a month and a half of baseball left to play.

SS Gleyber Torres: Gleyber Torres is another player who’s arrived in the golden age of shortstops and he has not disappointed. Across 460 plate appearances in 110 games this year, Torres is slashing .282/.349/.521 (wRC+ 124). He’s approaching the same number of plate appearances that he had in his rookie season (484) but he is showing no signs of slowing down. He’s even brought his K% down to 20.7%, down from 25.2% a year ago. He also has 26 bombs, which is tied for the lead on his team (with Gary Sanchez).

New York Yankees roster



How many games will the Indians win against the Yankees?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    (12 votes)
  • 16%
    (34 votes)
  • 49%
    (104 votes)
  • 20%
    (43 votes)
  • 8%
    (18 votes)
211 votes total Vote Now