Monday, June 21, 2010

The Series Ahead: Yankees @ Diamondbacks

Yankees - Diamondbacks
Chase Field
(3 Games)

After struggling with the bats for three straight games the Yankees responded in a big way during the subway series taking the final two of a three game set with the previously smoking hot Mets (Had won 8 in a row). Not to mention they mustered 9 runs in two games against the Mets' top two and currently two of the best in the National League. So the Yankees will say goodbye to a home-stand that finished with a 6-3 record to put them in sole possession of first place in the AL-East and hit the road for the dreaded west coast trip. On this trip the Yankees face their 2001 World Series foe (An all-time classic...besides the outcome) the Arizona Diamondbacks and will face Joe Torre's Dodgers for the first time since he departed from the Bronx.

Well I have to apologize I was completely wrong about the Arizona Diamondbacks this year. If you take a look at the SIH Staff Predictions you'll find I predicted the D-backs to win the NL West this season. What went wrong with the pick and the D-backs? I do not see them play enough to give an in-depth view, but from a-far it's obvious the players have failed to live up to expectations. Ace Dan Haren who has been pitching well of late is still having a sub par year. Front Line starter Brandon Webb has not returned from injury as expected. Edwin Jackson has been somewhat of a bust (he was a acquired in the Curtis Granderson deal). Emerging star Justin Upton who made the All-Star team in 2009 and signed a big extension in the off-season is hitting just .247. Inconsistency seems to run in that family. Their power bat Mark Reynolds who hit .260 last year is hitting just .215. This team seemed to have all the talent to make a run at the always weak NL West or at least the NL Wild-Card, but plenty has gone wrong in Arizona, and now they are one of the early sellers on the trade market.

So far this has been a strange year for the Yankees. Usually there is some sort of story-line going on. Last year the Yankees got off to a terrible start, A-rod came back and had an instant impact, we could not beat the Red Sox, Joe Girardi on the hot seat in Atlanta, the new stadium homer crazy, walk off weekend, and just when they were putting things together they get swept in Anaheim to head into the All-star break. With the All- Star break two and a half weeks away, what will be the story line of this Yankee team? If you look at it the Yankees have been quite boring so far. No prolonged losing streaks, sitting at or near the top of the division, they can beat the Red Sox, and Rays, Joe Girardi is more than comfortable as manager. This Yankee team may be boring enough to repeat as World Series champs. They are playing well despite, constant injuries, a shaky bullpen, slow starts from Tex and A-rod. This team is being carried by dominant starting pitching and good years from Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher.

Sure the Yankees are kind of boring this year. They come to the ballpark and most of the time take care of their business. That is exactly what we should expect on this road trip. With the weak D-backs and decent Dodgers we should expect a winning trip.


Game 1: Tonight @ 10:10 p.m. | TV: YES & ESPN| Radio: WCBS
RHP A.J. Burnett (6-5, 4.33) vs. RHP Rodrigo Lopez (2-6, 4.70)

Game 2: Tuesday @ 9:40 p.m. | TV: YES | Radio: WCBS
LHP Andy Pettitte3 (8-2, 2.47) vs. RHP Dan Haren (7-5, 4.71)

Game 3: Wednesday @ 9:40p.m. | TV: YES | Radio: WCBS
RHP Javier Vazquez (6-6, 5.01) vs. LHP Dontrelle Willis (2-2, 4.78)

Three Questions
  • Will Burnett benefit from a weak NL lineup and get his game on track?
  • Is it time to accept that Alex Rodriguez is no longer the premiere bat in the Yankee lineup?
  • How will Joe Girardi handle the nagging injuries to A-rod and Posada?
Injury Report

- DH/1B Nick Johnson is on the 60-day DL with an inflamed tendon in the wrist. Out until Late July.
- RHP Alfredo Aceves is on the 15-day DL with lower back discomfort. He has been throwing.
- RHP Sergio Mitre is on the 15-day DL
- LF Marcus Thames is on the 15-day DL with a strainged Hamstring
- 3B Alex Rodriguez is day-to-day with a groin/hip flexor issue
- C Jorge Posada is day-to-day battling a fatigued foot. Limited to Catching every other day.

- RHP Brandon Webb is on the 60-day DL with a muscle strain in his elbow.
- RHP Kris Benson is on the 15-day DL with a shoulder strain.
- RHP Leo Rosales is on the 15-day DL with a stress fracture in his right foot.

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