Blue Jays Series Preview: New York Yankees are looking for revenge
Across the Diamond – The New York Yankees
The bullpen. The New York Yankees can feel comfortable if they carry a lead into the eighth inning. With Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller locking things down in the late innings, there are slim hopes of a comeback from the opposition. 25 games from now, Aroldis Chapman will return from his suspension and will further solidify what could become arguably the most lethal bullpen in the Major Leagues.
The problem is getting to the late innings with a lead intact. The Yankees pitching staff is loaded with talent and high-quality arms, but all five starters struggle to find consistency. Masahiro Tanaka is the closest to a sure-thing, and has stymied the Blue Jays in the past. He has a 25-12 record since coming over to New York from Japan in 2014.
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The rest of the rotation have each made one start this season and have averaged a 7.43 ERA through those games. The upside from the trio of Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi, and Luis Severino is something worth watching and could work out for the Yankees as the season goes on. Severino, 22, has had a strong start to his major-league career and already pitched in pivotal games in September last season.
Former Cy Young award winner C.C. Sabathia narrowly beat Ivan Nova out for the final rotation spot. The best case scenario for Sabathia would be for him to stay healthy and return to the 200 innings plateau that he reached just three seasons ago.
The Yankees showed in their first five games that they can score. They put up 35 runs so far this season, including a 16-spot against the Houston Astros. Newly acquired second-baseman Starlin Castro is off to a scorching start with his new club. He has recorded nine hits in 21 plate appearances so far (.450 BA). Brian McCann (.467 BA) and Didi Gregorius (.333 BA) have also enjoyed some early-early season success.
Health will once again be the deciding factor in the success of the 2016 Yankees. Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Chase Headley, and Brian McCann make up seven of nine starters in the lineup and have a combined average age of 34.4.
Next: Game One: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Aaron Sanchez