Oakland Athletics (5-7) @ New York Yankees (7-6)

Monday April 20, 7:05pm, TV – YES, Radio CBS 880, 94.3 FM (upstate)

Tuesday April 21, 7:05pm, TV – YES, Radio CBS 880, 94.3 FM (upstate)

Wednesday April 22, 1:05pm, TV – YES, Radio CBS 880, 94.3 FM (upstate)

Preview:

This should be an interesting series.  Both teams are playing below their potential and both are entering Monday’s game after disappointing series.  The Yankees opened up their new stadium with a 2-2 series against the Indians which featured one of the biggest beatdowns in MLB history.  Oakland had just taken 2 of 3 from Boston when the AL leading Toronto Blue Jays shut them down this weekend.

Both teams still need to find themselves.  The Yankees are having difficulty putting a winning streak together, while the A’s seem to have difficulty following a good series with another good series. 

Oakland needs to find itself offensively.  Its pitching is strong – the team is top 5 in the AL in ERA, Batting Average Against (BAA) and OPS allowed, but is last in the AL in batting average (.235) and 13th in on-base-percentage (.315).  The A’s added Matt Holiday in the offseason to help generate runs, and he has only managed a .267 average with 9 RBI.

The Yankees are the opposite.  The team is scoring runs, but allowing a heck of a lot more.  The team needs to get its act together on the mound.  We have seen signs of greatness from Brian Bruney and AJ Burnett, signs of stability from guys like Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, and signs of futility from Chien-Ming Wang, Jose Veras and Damaso Marte.

The Yanks also need Joe Girardi to make smart decisions on who to pitch.  I blame Girardi for what happened Saturday.  I think it was foolish for him to put Anthony Claggett in to pitch after the 6 runs Wang allowed.  Here is a guy with very little big-league experience being asked to shut down an Indians lineup that is fired up.  Its too much pressure.  He should have put a guy like Bruney in to calm everything down and give the Yankee bats a chance to catch up. 

Former 6-year Yankee Jason Giambi returns to NY for the first time since signing with Oakland as a free agent.  I assume he will get a good cheer from the Yankee fans.  I for one will not forget the “mustache” and what it did for last year’s team to help them turn it around. 

Pitching Matchups:

Dana Eveland (0-0, 6.75 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (1-0, 2.51)

Bret Anderson (0-2, 4.85) vs. CC Sabathia (1-1, 3.57)

Josh Outman (0-0, 6.48) vs. Joba Chamberlain (0-0, 5.06)

All three A’s starters are lefties.  Most of the Yankee lineup is lefty.  Girardi seems hesitant to let Mark Teixeira hit righty, so we will see how he hits this series and how often he plays due to the inflammation in his left wrist, which hurts more when batting righty.