at NEW YORK YANKEES
First pitch: Sunday, 1:05 p.m. ET
Line: N/A, Total: N/A
The Yankees will be hoping to finish off their series against the Mariners with a home victory on Sunday.
The Mariners and Yankees are currently battling for a spot in the postseason, but Seattle is in worse shape than New York heading into this one. The Mariners are one of five teams that are really going at it for the second wild card spot, but the Yankees currently sit in the first wild card spot. The Bronx Bombers seem to be in a class of their own amongst wild card competitors, as they actually look more like a team that might pull off a division victory than one that will slip out of the playoff picture completely. Having said that, anything can happen at this point in the year. The Yankees are prone to losing streaks, as they are a power hitting team and can easily go through slumps at any moment. As for Sundayís game, the starters in this one will be LHP Andrew Albers (2-0, 3.60 ERA, 7 K) for Seattle and RHP Masahiro Tanaka (9-10, 4.86 ERA, 145 K) for New York. After a lousy start to the year for Tanaka, the righty has settled in and pitched pretty well recently. Heíll be hoping that trend continues moving forward, but obviously no promises can be made.
The Mariners can really use a victory on Sunday and Andrew Albers is the guy tasked with shutting down a potent Yankees lineup in this one. Albers has been good since joining the rotation, as he has allowed only four earned runs in 10.0 innings of work. If he can give Seattle five or six solid innings then he will have done his job. He threw 86 pitches in the teamís last game and they will probably be fine with him hitting the 90-mark on Sunday. That is, however, only if he is doing a decent job. As for the Marinersí offense, 2B Robinson Cano is a guy to keep an eye on here. Cano is just 4-for-19 against Tanaka in his career, but he has homered and driven in two RBI off of the righty. Tanaka also happens to be worse than he was over the past couple of years, so perhaps Cano will be able to make him pay for any mistakes in this one. He will, however, have to be out there, which is not a certainty considering heís dealing with a bad hamstring. C Mike Zunino could also do some damage, as he is 3-for-10 with a double and a homer off of Tanaka.
The Yankees are trying to claw their way back to the top of the AL East, but they really canít afford to lose too many games with the way that the Red Sox are playing right now. That puts some pressure on Masahiro Tanaka here, but he has been pitching very well over the past few weeks. Tanaka has allowed only seven earned runs over his past four outings, and he has now lowered his ERA from 5.74 on Jun. 23 to 4.86 heading into this game. Itíd be huge if he can turn in another gem for the Yankees. As for the teamís offense, one guy that theyíll be counting on is OF Aaron Judge. Judge has slumped a little bit lately, but heís due for a nice streak soon. Going up against a pitcher like Albers is a good matchup for him as well.