Yankees head into Oakland with momentum

Gardner displaying his speed.

Gardner displaying his speed.

After winning three out of four games in Seattle against the third place Mariners, the Yankees are now about to start a three-game series in Oakland. Going back to the last day of May, the Yankees have now won seven of their last 10 games, which includes winning six of their last seven games.

The previous series against the Mariners can be considered a success since they won the series and got the victory in the game that Felix Hernandex pitched. The Yankees only scored one run off of King Felix, in the 2-1 victory, but David Phelps had his second quality start in a row.

The final game of the series in Seattle also saw Brett Gardner have four hits in five at bats. He also drove in a run and picked up a steal on his way to being named the American League Player of the Week. He stole his 10th base and already has 27 RBI and six homers, which is one shy of his career high.

In their last three games (two wins), the Yankees’ offense has scored only six runs, but Gardner has eight hits in that span and is on a seven-game hitting streak that has seen his average rise from .256 before the streak to .284. He has consistently been hitting leadoff and is perfect for that role because of his speed and ability to get on base.

In the past four games, the bullpen was another strength since in 8.1 innings they did not allow any runs. This has been a theme basically all season for the relievers. However, the one exception might be Joba Chamberlain.

The Yankees will now face the Oakland Athletics, who are in second place in the AL West, with an impressive 38-27 record. They are 7-3 in their last 10 games, but lost their last two games to the White Sox. Oakland also has an effective pitching staff as only one reliever has an ERA over 2.57, and they have four solid starters including Jarrod Parker, Bartolo Colon, Tommy Milone and A.J. Griffin.

Bartolo Colon (7-2, 3.14 ERA), who had a 4.00 ERA and 135 strikeouts for the Yankees in 2011, will pitch for the Athletics tonight. He is pitching like he is 30 and not 40. CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.74 ERA), the ace of the staff the past few years (Kuroda has been the best pitcher this season), will pitch for the Yankees. He usually pitches better as the temps get hotter, and in his last game he threw a complete game while striking out nine batters.

Here are the pitching matchups for the rest of the series:

Wednesday at 10:05 EST.

Phil Hughes (3-4, 4.80 ERA) vs RHP Dan Straily (3-2, 4.67 ERA) – (Phil Hughes has a 3.44 ERA in away games, which is much better than his record at home)

Thursday at 10:05 EST.

Hiroki Kuroda (6-5, 2.84 ERA) vs RHP Jarrod Parker (5-6, 4.68 ERA)

The Yankees are now two games behind the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East and are tied with Oakland for the wild card. It would be a successful series if the Yankees can win two or three games against Oakland. Phil Hughes and David Phelps will need to continue to pitch well since in Michael Pineda’s first rehab start, he threw 42 out of his 68 pitches for strikes, and his fastball reached 94 MPH. He could be a factor after four or five rehab starts given his success as a rookie with Seattle.

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