This one was over early. Staked with a 5-0 lead after the 2nd inning, hopefully most of you were able to enjoy this beautiful Saturday evening at peace knowing that the Yankees would once again beat the lowly Orioles.
A 2-run single by Gary Sánchez (more on him later) gave the Yankees a 3 run lead before Domingo Germán even toed the rubber tonight. With this 8-2 victory, the Bombers are now a season high five games over .500 at 22-17 and have secured another series win, their 5th in a row. Here are the takeaways from tonight’s laugher.
The Yankees are riding high off an emotional series win against the Trashtros and let’s hope to avoid a letdown against the Nationals this weekend. Overall, the Yankees are currently 4th in the AL East with a 16-15 record, though they are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have the best record in MLB since their 5-10 start.
Continuing the theme of the Trashtros for a moment, the Nationals are the true heroes of MLB for beating Houston in the 2019 World Series right before the cheating scandal broke. If you’re attending games this weekend, let’s cheer the Nats for that herculean effort and then hope the Yankees continue their recent play and sweep them.
Their Story So Far
The Nationals have continued their struggles since winning the 2019 World Series and sit in last place in the NL East with a 12-15 record and a -22 run differential. They are 5-5 in their last 10 and are currently riding a 3 game losing streak. Let’s extend to 6 games, shall we? Offense has been the team’s big culprit so far as they have only scored 93 runs this year. Along with the Mets, they are the only two NL teams with under 100 runs scored. Even the lowly Pirates have scored 106 runs in the early going. They rank 21st with a team wRC+ of 90 and 18th with a team wOBA of .306. For context, despite their offensive struggles, the Yankees have a team wRC+ of 105 and a wOBA of .315.
On the pitching side of things, they rank 17th with a 4.21 ERA with 4.84 FIP and 4.58 xFIP. Put that together with the offense, and you get a middling last place team that has severely underperformed expectations to the point that once again, the question everyone is asking about the team is if they’ll trade Max Scherzer at the deadline.
After this series
Out for season
Spotlight: Juan Soto
Who else would it be? My preseason MVP pick recently returned after a shoulder injury, though he has only pinch hit thus far. He’s off to a slow start this year by his standards, slashing .283/.391/.434 (121 wRC+) though he is coming off an absurd 2020 where he hit .351/.490/.695 (201! wRC+).
Of hitters through their age 21 season all-time, Soto ranks 8th in OPS+, 2nd in OBP, 6th in SLG, fourth in wOBA, third in BB%, and fifth in BB/K rate. According to ZiPS, Soto is expected to produce 81.4 WAR from now until his age 36 season, and that same system spit out Ted Williams as a player comp for Soto which ZiPS guru Dan Szymborski said is a first.
During his historic 2020 season, Soto raked to a .474 xwOBA which led all of baseball. And, even in a short injury-filled start to this year, his expected numbers are all incredible. Take a look:
Tons and tons of red. I remember seeing Soto hit an opposite field home run nearly to the bleachers of Yankee Stadium a few years ago which is just unheard of for lefty hitters. He is a rare, rare player and an absolute joy to watch, though let’s hope Yankee pitching finds a way to keep him in check this series.
Below is Roster Resource’s projected starting lineup for the Nationals.
Trea Turner, SS (.299/.348/.533, 138 wRC+)
Juan Soto, RF (.283/.391/.434, 121 wRC+)
Josh Harrison, 2B (.329/.417/.466, 145 wRC+)
Josh Bell, 1B (.141/.222/.281, 40 wRC+)
Kyle Schwarber, LF (.187/.265/.333, 63 wRC+)
Starlin Castro, 3B (.260/.296/.350, 76 wRC+)
Yan Gomes, C (.271/.306/.458, 103 wRC+)
Victor Robles, CF (.228/.351.278, 82 wRC+)
Alex Avila, C (.125/.333/.250, 78 wRC+)
Ryan Zimmerman, 1B (.314/.352/.588, 152 wRC+)
Jordy Mercer, INF (.333/.360/.375, 103 wRC+)
Yadiel Hernandez, OF (.300/.370/.400, 113 wRC+)
Andrew Stevenson, OF (.224/.278/.327, 66 wRC+)
With the DH in the AL, look for Schwarber to likely DH with Hernandez of Stevenson manning the outfield.
Friday, 5/7 at 7:08pm EDT
Patrick Corbin, LHP
Corbin has struggled in the early going with an 8.10 ERA and 7.31 xERA for a -0.5 WAR thus far. The highly sought after lefty is striking out less than 7 per 9 and walking nearly 6. Look for the Bombers to be patient and wait for their pitch. (Stats vs. Yankees).
Jameson Taillon, RHP
Our beloved Jamo put together his best start last time out giving up 1 run over 5 innings while striking out 8. On the year he has a 5.24 ERA but a 2.90 xERA so look for the strong performance to continue. (Stats vs. Nationals).
Saturday, 5/8 at 1:08pm EDT
Max Scherzer, RHP
Scherzer is off to a good start with a 2.54 ERA in his first 6 starts. Notably, he threw a complete game in his last start and good thing there were no extras because he rushed to the hospital right after for the birth of his child! (Stats vs. Yankees).
Corey Kluber, RHP
The Klubot threw the first 8-inning start for a Yankee pitcher in a very long time last time out which lowered his season ERA to 3.03. With increased usage of his changeup we are seeing the next evolution of the Klubot. (Stats vs. Nationals).
Sunday, 5/9 at 1:08pm EDT
Joe Ross, RHP
Ross is struggling with the homeruns this year, giving up 2.03 HR/9 and is otherwise pitching to his usual mid-4’s and 5’s ERA/FIP. Let’s hope for some Mother’s Day homeruns with the pink bats! (Stats vs. Yankees).
Domingo Germán, RHP
Germán is off to a 4.32 ERA 4.91 xERA start, though he has pitched better of late giving up no more than 3 runs each of his past 3 starts including a 7-inning shutout against Baltimore recently. We won’t rehash the non-baseball angle here other than to say I wish anyone else were pitching on Mother’s Day. (Stats vs. Nationals).
Voth is the only guy who’s thrown 2 out of the last 3 days, so the Nats bullpen will be rested for what we hope is a lot of usage against the Bronx Bombers this weekend! Enjoy the series!
The Yankees have taken the first two games of this series handily by a combined score of 16-4 and go for their first series sweep of the season against the Tigers this afternoon. Gleyber Torres gets the day off, though much to Randy’s joy he is replaced at shortshop not by Tyler Wade but by Gio Urshela. Gardner starts over Frazier in left. Here’s the lineup backing up Corey Kluber who’s looking to build on his fantastic last start.
New York Yankees (13-14)
DJ LeMahieu, 3B
Giancarlo Stanton, DH
Aaron Judge, RF
Rougned Odor, 2B
Gio Urshela, SS
Aaron Hicks, CF
Mike Ford, 1B
Kyle Higashioka, C
Brett Gardner, LF
RHP Corey Kluber
Detroit Tigers (8-20)
Robbie Grossman, RF
Jeimer Candelario, 3B
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Jonathan Schoop, DH
Harold Castro, 2B
Niko Goodrum, SS
Wilson Ramos, C
Akil Baddoo, LF
Jacoby Jones, CF
RHP José Ureña
News & Notes
The big news this morning, which Bobby will post about later, is Minor League assignments have been released. The season starts next week, and you can see the assignments here: (NYYPlayerDev)
Good to see Gio Urshela back in there after a day off yesterday, and notably at shortstop. If they were concerned about any injuries, can’t imagine they would play him there instead of his usual spot at third.
Likely just standard days off for Gleyber Torres and Clint Frazier as the Yankees finish up this 13 game in 13 day stretch.
First pitch will be right around 1:08pm EDT and you can catch the game on YES or MLB Network out of market or on WFAN. Bring out the brooms and enjoy the game!
Well it only took 11 days for the Yankees to see the same opponent twice. After starting the year against the Blue Jays in New York, the Yankees will face off against them again in their home of Toronto Dunedin. This tweet from Jayson Stark sums it up nicely:
Their story so far
Just like the Yankees, the Blue Jays are off to a 4-5 start and are yet to sweep a series or be swept. After taking two of three from the Bombers, the Blue Jays promptly lost two out of three to both the Rangers and Angels.
Two main storylines have emerged for the Blue Jays thus far. First, as we’ll get to more in a moment, are the injuries. In addition to the typical injuries Derek discussed in the last series preview, the Blue Jays are currently dealing with players on the COVID-19 IL. Both Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Teoscar Hernández have been placed on that IL – vaccine side effects for Gurriel Jr. meaning he could return as soon as he feels better and exposure for Hernández who will miss this series.
Second is the Blue Jays current home at their Spring Training site in Dunedin. It was surmised that this bandbox will lead to lots of runs, and through three games so far, 36 runs have been scored. Look for offense and lots of it over the next few days. And of course, cue the complaints about the games taking too damn long. Now that I’ve said that, you can expect three straight pitching duels.
The real, and only, reason to read this season preview is to know a little about a division foe and plan your trip down to the Charm City (I lived there for two years and have no idea why that’s the nickname) because just like the pizza in Baltimore, the Orioles are not good.
In truly shocking news, the Orioles actually finished ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East last season, finishing the season at 25-35 after getting off to a decent start. The 2020 Orioles not finishing in the AL East basement would qualify as a top 10 “WTF” moment in any other year because this team is going through a massive rebuild. Per Spotrac, their total team payroll is $46 million, nearly half of which is tied up in Chris Davis’ contract. Their entire 26-man roster this year will make less than Gerrit Cole.
The TL;DR is the Orioles will not be good this year, will almost certainly finish in last place in the AL East, and only our wonderful, nerdy, and devoted readers would consider reading the rest of this preview to hear the names of players who I first learned while researching for this article.