Yanks Look To Avoid Sweep
First pitch in this matinee matchup at Yankee Stadium is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.
New York (29-29, 12-16 home) finds itself amidst a four-game losing streak, its second of the season, and in a rare spell of poor form at Yankee Stadium.
With just four wins in The Bronx over the last five weeks, the Yankees could be forgiven for looking ahead to a 10-game road swing that will take in Kansas City and the Pacific coast. But manager Joe Girardi will know that earning a victory on Thursday lunchtime will be the best way to hit the road.
Oakland (37-22, 20-10 road) is facing no such problems. Bob Melvin’s club currently sports the American League’s best record and has been the best road team in the majors. The A’s enter Thursday’s series finale on the back of a five-game winning streak and seeking a first sweep at Yankee Stadium since June 2006.
The A’s are also enjoying being matched up against the prolific Yankees. Since July 19, 2012, the A’s have won 12 of 15 games between the two sides, and will be looking to retain bragging rights in this one.
Tuesday’s series opener saw the A’s emerge with a 5-2 victory, thanks to Brandon Ross’ three-run homer in the 10th inning. On Wednesday, the Yankees jumped out to a 4-0 lead early, only to succumb 7-4 in the end.
While Oakland may have had its own way in recent meetings, New York will be confident of earning the victory and putting the halters on that four-game losing streak. The reason? The man that takes the mound.
Rookie standout Masahiro Tanaka (8-1, 2.06 ERA) is scheduled to start for the home side, something that brings relief to 161st Street.
Tanaka, the AL Pitcher of the Month for May, continues to impress in his first season in America, dominating hitters and generally giving the Yankees a chance to win every time he starts. On Friday, against the Minnesota Twins, he allowed just four hits in eight innings of action, striking out nine batters. The one run the Twins put on the board was unearned.
Since losing his first decision in 42 games last month, he has recorded a pair of wins allowing just one earned run. The right-hander averages eight strike outs per game.
Tanaka put an end to the Yankees’ last four-game losing streak this season.
Drew Pomeranz (5-2, 2.37 ERA) will be handed the responsibility for trying to outshine the Japanese sensation.
Pomeranz is 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in five starts since swapping the bullpen for a starter’s role. In his last appearance, last Thursday against the Los Angeles Angels, he was roughed up, allowing five earned runs, including two home runs, in 5 1/3 innings of play. Fortunately for the 25-year-old left-hander, the A’s offense got him the win.
The Yankees are 11-9 when facing left-handed pitching, while the A’s are 25-16 against right-handed pitching.
Offense could be the key to unlocking Tanaka for the A’s. The club, which leads the majors in runs scored with 308, has recorded 60 runs in its last nine outings, more than enough to wipe out most teams and most pitchers.
With Tanaka on the hill, New York (-165) opened as the favorite over Oakland (+155) on the moneyline. That advantage has stretched somewhat since opening, with online sportsbook Bookmaker listing the Yankees at -172 at the time of publication.
The A’s have had the Yankees’ number in recent matchups, winning six straight and posting a 12-3 head-to-head record since June 2012. But does the Californian side have enough to record its first Yankee Stadium sweep in eight years?
The Yankees will simply be looking to pick up a home win, something that has become something of a rarity over the past month or so. Since April 29, the Yankees are just 4-12 when playing in The Bronx.
The over/under opened at 8, with the under preferred.
The total has gone under in four of Oakland’s last five road games, as well as six of New York’s last nine home fixtures, making the under a reasonable bet.
However, the total has gone over in eight of the last 12 games the two clubs have played at Yankees Stadium, including Wednesday night’s 11-run game. Add to that the fact that Tuesday’s game missed the 8-run marker by one, and the over starts to look promising.
The Yankees (5-5-1) have split the over/under evenly when Tanaka takes the mound, although three of his last four starts have seen the under pay out. The fourth game in that stretch ended with a push.
The Yankees and Athletics will meet again next weekend (June 13-15) in Oakland.
Oakland will travel down I95 for a series with the Baltimore Orioles before heading west to face the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.
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