With their proverbial back against the wall, the New York Yankees start this home-stand against the Baltimore Orioles and eight games behind the division leading Boston Red Sox and five games out of a Wild Card spot.
Tonight's game has LHP CC Sabathia (11-11, 4.81 ERA) going for New York against Baltimore's RHP Miguel Gonzalez (8-6, 3.77 ERA). Gonzalez has had the Yankees' number in three starts this season he has gone at least six innings and given up not more than two earned runs a game. Miguel baffles the Yankees every time he faces them with five pitches including a four seam and two seam fastball in the low 90's, a splitter/changeup combo which always gives the Yankees fits, a mid-80's slider and low 70's curveball.
Sabathia needs to be the "old" CC tonight giving some strong innings and not allowing the big inning which has been his downfall this season. Since the All-Star break Sabathia has a 7.30 ERA and so far this year has given up the most home runs (27) in his career.
Tomorrow afternoon the starters include RHP Ivan Nova (7-7, 3.14 ERA) for the Bombers against RHP Scott Feldman (11-9, 3.87 ERA). Feldman is basically a sinker/curveball pitcher, mixing in some fastballs here and there. The Yankees haven't faced him since he became an Oriole, but saw him numerous times when with the Texas Rangers with 50-50 success.
Nova in his last ten games is 5-2 with a 2.41 ERA and looking so much better after his stint in the minors this season. Nova is making a more consistent delivery allowing him to go six to seven innings a start. With Kuroda's struggles of late Ivan has been pitching like a number one starter.
In the Sunday afternoon finale RHP Phil Hughes (4-13, 4.91 ERA) takes the hill for New York against LHP Wei-Yin Chen (7-7, 3.76 ERA) for Baltimore. Chen's arsenal includes five pitches low 90's four and two seamers, mid-80's changeup, low 80's slider and curveball. The Yankees have done well against Chen in the past and need to do so again on Sunday.
What can you say? Hughes has had an awful year by wins and losses, but at times shows why the Yankees have stuck with him so long. We believe that a change in scenery will be good for the native Californian next year, but now he is still in Pinstripes and needs to start winning games down the stretch. In his defense he is one of the lowest run supported pitchers in the Major Leagues.
So far this season Baltimore holds the edge 7-5 so a sweep would move the Yankees up in the standings. After this series they have three with the Chicago White Sox and then four with Boston to conclude the ten-game home-stand.
Eduardo Nunez's MRI on his right knee was negative making him day-to-day.
Robinson Cano (left hand contusion) will be a game time decision.
Tonight is Yogi Berra bobble head giveaway to the first 18,000 fans who enter the Stadium.
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