New York Yankees
In this, the Mariners' only visit to the Bronx this season, they will see a somewhat different Yankee team than they saw in Seattle a month ago. The Yanks, unsurprisingly, were active buyers as the trade deadline approached and added some star power. They got first baseman Anthony Rizzo from the Cubs, outfielder Joey Gallo from the Rangers, and starting pitcher Andrew Heaney from the Angels. Another difference is that the Yankees are now dealing with a COVID outbreak, so the M's will not have to face ace pitcher Gerrit Cole or lefty Jordan Montgomery as they are both in isolation for a minimum of 10 days after testing positive for the virus, as is their batterymate, catcher Gary Sánchez. In fact, the injured list in general is becoming a popular destination in the Bronx. Non-COVID IL stints are currently being enjoyed by no less than eleven Yankees, including two more starting pitchers.
With so many players inactive, the Yankees will, perhaps, be more beatable than when they took two of three at TMP. The starting pitchers for the four-game set are, for the moment, slated to be former Mariner Nestor Cortes Jr. in the opener, TBA on Friday in Montgomery's slot, Heaney, and rookie Luis Gil, who made his Major League debut last Tuesday in a blowout win against the lowly Orioles. You might remember Cortes from two absolutely brutal appearances with the M's last season (0-1, 15.26 ERA, 2.348 WHIP), but he's been a different pitcher in ’21; he's primarily appeared in relief for the Yankees, but in 33 innings he's kept his ERA under 2.00 and WHIP under 1.000. Heaney has already seen the M's twice this year as a member of the Angels and the Mariners beat him both times, knocking him out of each game before the 5th inning.
At the plate, New York will, naturally, rely on longballs, particularly with Yankee Stadium's short right-field porch. Sánchez (out with COVID infection), infielder Rougned "Stinky" Odor, DH Giancarlo Stanton, outfielders Aaron Judge and Gallo, and Rizzo all have homer totals in the double digits. The Yankees also lead the league in walks—Gallo individually leads all American Leaguers in that category, accounting for an on-base mark more than 150 points higher than his anemic batting average—making that home-run power more threatening; if Seattle pitchers are giving up solo shots, that can be manageable, just keep the bases empty.
The Mariners are scheduled to start Tyler Anderson on Thursday night, Marco Gonzales Friday, Chris Flexen Saturday, and Yusei Kikuchi in Sunday afternoon's matinee. Anderson pitched well in his Mariner debut last Saturday, cruising through four innings before allowing a home run to Texas' Jonah Heim and getting relieved in the sixth. Gonzales has looked more like his old self over his last few starts and is coming off a vintage Marco performance last Sunday against the Rangers that was blown by his relief (which, come to think of it, is also indicative of a classic Marco start). Flexen and Kikuchi both notched wins against the Rays their last times out, each looking dominant at times in their games. Anderson and Flexen have both never faced the Yankees, while Gonzales has had two career starts against them (one brutal, in 2018, one excellent, in ’19) and Kikuchi is 1-2 in three career starts vs. the New York American Leaguers.
|vs. AL West||12-7|
Who’s Hot & Not
Last 10 games
.389/.489/.889, 6 HR, 11 RBI
.300/.326/.400, 4 2B, 5 RBI
.086/.200/.229, 15 Ks
Rougned "Stinky" Odor
.211/.286/.289, 8 Ks
.231/.318/.308, 14 Ks
Last 3 series vs. Seattle
|7/8/21||SEA 4, NYY 0|
|7/7/21||NYY 5, SEA 4|
|7/6/21||NYY 12, SEA 1|
|8/28/19||NYY 7, SEA 3|
|8/27/19||NYY 7, SEA 0|
|8/26/29||NYY 5, SEA 4|
|5/9/19||NYY 3, SEA 1|
|5/8/19||SEA 10, NYY 1|
|5/7/19||NYY 5, SEA 4|
|5/6/19||NYY 7, SEA 3|
Aaron Boone: Boone led the Yankees to the postseason as the Wild Card entrant in his rookie managerial year in 2018, winning 100 games. He followed that up with a division title in ’19 and a Wild Card berth last year, but with a disappointing first half of 2021 (by Yankee fan standards, anyway), Yankee fans have been calling for Boone's head, even chanting "Fire Boone" at Yankee Stadium during a late June homestand. The club brass has voiced support for Boone and claims there are no plans to fire him, but you never know with this team. Boone's contract is up after the end of this season and the New York press has already started speculating on who his replacement will be for 2022 if not mid-year ’21.
Lucas Luetge: A Mariner from 2012-2015, splitting time between the big club and Triple-A Tacoma, Luetge hadn't pitched in the Majors since until this season. Bouncing between five different organizations, the lefty had a hard time cutting it even at the Triple-A level from ’15-’19, but the Yankees saw something in him and signed him to a free-agent contract last December. He's done pretty well in pinstripes, pitching to a sub-3.00 ERA over 50 innings to date. Unsurprisingly, he does better against left-handed batters and away from Yankee Stadium, though the bulk of his work has come against righties and at home. While with Seattle, he racked up a modest 4.35 ERA in 89 innings pitched.
|New York Yankees||(1913 - present)|
|World Champions:||1923, 1927, 1928, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1978, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2009|
|League Champions:||1921, 1922, 1926, 1942, 1955, 1957, 1960, 1963, 1964, 1976, 1981, 2001, 2003|
|Division Titles:||1980, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2011, 2012|
Historical Accuracy: It had been accepted that the Yankees originated as a founding member of the American League called the Baltimore Orioles, and that those Orioles relocated to New York in 1903. Recently, though, baseball historians, including the authors of the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia, have decided that it's more accurate to call the 1901-02 Orioles a separate franchise. Though when the AL was founded it was intended (secretly) that Baltimore would be a temporary home for a team while property in Manhattan was acquired for a ballpark, a feud erupted between league president Ban Johnson and John McGraw, who was running the Orioles, and McGraw connived to ruin the Baltimore club; the Orioles essentially had to fold in mid-season 1902, finishing out its schedule by fielding players borrowed from other teams. The New York team that began play in 1903 is now considered by these experts to be a new franchise created to fill the gap left by the Orioles' collapse. A fascinating article on the whole mess, by MLB official historian John Thorn, is recommended reading.