Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees

Thursday April 16, 1:05 pm, TV – YES, Radio – CBS 880, 94.3 FM (Mid-Hudson Valley Area)

Friday April 17, 1:05 pm, TV – YES, Radio – CBS 880, 94.3 FM (Mid-Hudson Valley Area)

Saturday April 18, 3:40 pm, TV – FOX, Radio – CBS 880, 94.3 FM (Mid-Hudson Valley Area)

Sunday April 19, 1:05pm, TV – YES, Radio – CBS 880, 94.3 FM (Mid-Hudson Valley Area)

Preview:

After the longest road streak ever to open a stadium, 9 games, the Yankees finally are able to open their 1.5 Billion gem of a stadium.  The Yankees have had a rough road trip, coming out with a 5-4 record and currently in third place in the American League East.  Since starting 0-2, the Yankees are 5-2, having won their last two series against Kansas City and Tampa Bay.

The Indians (2-7) seem lost in this young season.  They were swept by the Texas Rangers in their first series, and allowed the Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals to take 2 of 3 from them in the next two series.  They are coming off a 5-4 win last night that prevented a sweep by KC.

A sub-plot of this series is CC Sabathia facing his old team for the first time in his career and injury-prone Carl Pavano who spent the last four season with the Yankees, collecting $40 Million while spending most of his time watching Yankee games on TV.  It will be fun listening to the thrashing Yankee fans will give him on Sunday.

The Pitching Matchups:

Thursday: CC Sabathia LHP (1-1, 4.50 ERA) vs. Cliff Lee LHP (0-2, 9.90 ERA)

Friday: Joba Chamberlain RHP (0-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. Anthony Reyes RHP (1-0, 6.00 ERA)

Saturday: Chien-Ming Wang RHP (0-2, 28.93 ERA) vs. Fausto Carmona RHP (0-2, 9.00 ERA)

Sunday: A.J. Burnett RHP (2-0, 2.70 ERA) vs. Carl Pavano RHP (0-2, 16.71 ERA)

Who’s Hot

Indians: Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner.  These two gentlemen make up most of the Indians offense so far.  Martinez is hitting .361, with 2 HR, 7 Runs and 3 RBI.  Hafner is hitting .286 with 3 HR, 7 RBI and 5 Runs.  Hafner is also 4-11 with 5 RBI against Burnet, who he will face in the last game of the series.

Yankees: AJ Burnett has looked exceptional on the mound.  He has been dominating in almost every single inning he has pitched, and he has almost single-handedly ended two different 2 game losing streaks with his 2 wins.

Brian Bruney – After allowing a 2-run HR on Opening Day in Baltimore, Bruney has not allowed a single batter to reach base in 4 2/3 innings, striking out a total of 10, including the last 5 batters he has faced.

Derek Jeter – Seemingly as soon as the media started mention Jeter was like 1-20 since Opening Day earlier this week, Captain Clutch has been a catalyst for the Yanks last two wins.  He has hit 5-9, with 4 RBI, 1 HR, 1 BB and has accounted for 2 Runs.  Perfect timing to get hot right before the new stadium opens.

Goes without saying: Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano.  Unless you have been living under a rock, you already knew about these two fellas.  I could not be more proud of Cano and the turn around he has had after last year’s ridiculously horrid season.  Swish has been the catalyst the Yankees needed in the clubhouse to get everyone relaxed and juiced up (figuratively juiced, not literally.)  Swisher has (rightly so) earned the Cleanup spot in the lineup.

Who’s Not:

Indians: Most of the starting rotation and most of the starting lineup.  When you are 2-7 everyone gets the blame.

Yankees: Hideki Matsui has been horrible at the plate this season and really needs to get it together, because since he cannot play the outfield for another few months, what’s the point in keeping him around?  Greg Cohen over at Sliding Into Home has actually named Matsui his “Player to Watch” this series due to his 4-12, with 2 2B career against Lee and his 3-5 game against Carmona last year.  I just don’t know if that is enough history to sway me.

Chien-Ming Wang – The Wanger pitched batting practice on Tuesday in what the Yankees coaching staff hopes was an unconventional way to get the guy back on track.  If he loses again, don’t be surprised to see him sent to Tampa to work on mechanics and Phil Hughes, who did very well in the offseason and spring, be sent up to replace him in the rotation.

Keys to Winning the Series

Indians: Get the starting pitching staff to be consistent and inspire the hitters to do more at the plate.  The Yankees are a tough team to beat at home.

Yankees: Since it is a 4 game series, 3 wins are needed to win it.  They will need at least 3 solid outings from the starting rotation to make that happen and will need the bullpen to hold it together.  The Yanks offense has been on most games, so it comes down to pitching.