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Toronto Blue Jays Series Preview: September 6 to 9

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Dwelling on an embarrassing series loss to the Orioles will do the Yankees no good with the upstart Blue Jays coming to town. Toronto trails the Yanks by four in the loss column entering this four game series in the Bronx, making these games quite pivotal. Either the Yankees can bury Toronto, or the Blue Jays will force the Yankees to fend them off for at least a bit longer.

These two sides haven’t squared off since mid-June, when the Yankees swept Toronto in a three-game set in Buffalo. Depending on how this week’s slate goes, the three games to end the month between these two teams in Toronto could be awfully interesting. But first, let’s preview this upcoming series:

Baltimore Orioles Series Preview: September 3 – 5

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After going 5-4 on the road trip including a 3-2 record on the West coast swing, the Yankees return home to face off against a familiar foe, the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees are currently 7 games behind the Rays in the AL East, and if you want to know why, look no further than their respective record against the O’s. Tampa went 18-1 against Baltimore whereas the Bombers are just 8-5 against the cellar dwelling birds. With the way the Yankees are playing and where they currently stand in the postseason picture, anything less than a sweep should be considered a failure this series.

Los Angeles Angels Series Preview: August 30 – September 1

The Yankees’ west coast swing is almost over. Last stop: Anaheim, for three games against the Mike Trout-less Angels. They still have Shohei Ohtani, at least. He’s starting the middle game of this series, and he surely wants revenge for his awful start at Yankee Stadium two months ago. Even with Ohtani’s amazing season, the Angels remain a middling-to-bad baseball team. This tweet is evergreen:

Look, if Ohtani wants to swat a few more homers or strike out a dozen batters this week, so be it. But the rest of the roster is so lackluster that even such a performance shouldn’t be enough to beat the Yankees. With that, let’s get familiar with the 64-67 Angels.

Oakland A’s Series Preview: August 26-29

The Yankees are absolutely riding high as they hit their West Coast trip this week, heading out to Oakland on an 11-game winning streak, their longest since 1985.  They are 3 games ahead of Boston for the first wildcard spot, and are chasing Tampa for first place in the East, just four games back.  The Oakland A’s are also in the hunt, a mere 1.5 games behind Boston, so this upcoming three-game set is important to both teams trying to cement their status as postseason contenders.

Their Story So Far

The Athletics are coming into this series on a 4-game losing streak and are 2-8 in their last 10, but overall this season have been formidable.  They bounced back from a 1-7 start at the beginning of April with a 13 game win streak, and have capably rivaled the Astros for much of the season.  Their recent slump has them 4.5 games behind Houston in the West, but even the red-hot Yankees shouldn’t underestimate Bob Melvin’s squad.

The A’s have been unspectacular but above-average on both sides of the ball, with a 109 staff-wide ERA+ and a 103 OPS+.  Their lineup has been bolstered by Matt Olson, who’s having a fantastic year with 32 home runs and a 161 OPS+, and Starling Marte, who has slashed .353/.391/.490 since being traded from the Marlins last month.  The rest of their offensive, while not putting up eye-popping numbers, has been overall solid.

The starting rotation of Cole Irvin, Sean Manaea, Frankie Montas, and James Kaprelian are all pitching to sub-4 ERAs, and prior to his injury Chris Bassitt had a 3.22 ERA and 12 wins, tied for the league lead.  Closer Lou Trivino has 21 saves, despite blowing his last two opportunities, and Yusmeiro Petit, Jake Diekman, and the eternal Sergio Romo have capably held down middle relief.

The A’s are not really a powerhouse by any means this year, but despite their recent slump are fundamentally solid.  They have the third-fewest errors in the majors, and allow the third fewest runs per game in the AL.  The Yankees’ recent success has put them in a good position with regards to the playoffs, but the A’s are right there with them in the standings and should not be an easy matchup.

Atlanta Braves Series Preview: August 23 & 24

Someone’s nine-game winning streak is coming to an end tonight. Both the Yankees and Braves enter this series in Atlanta riding high as the hottest teams in the majors. Both have somewhat similar stories to tell. Like the Yanks, Atlanta got off to a disappointing start only to rally and climb back into a postseason spot over the last month or so.

It’ll be interesting to see how Aaron Boone draws up the Yankees’ lineup for these two games in a National League park. One of Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit will have to sit, which makes me thing we’ll see a Joey Gallo-Aaron Judge-Giancarlo Stanton outfield for the next two days. You don’t want to see one of the first baseman and Stanton on the bench, in my opinion. But we’ll see, of course. Anyway, let’s get to know the Braves a bit more.

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