Pitching matchups for the series between the Mariners and the Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka

Masahiro Tanaka

The Yankees, who have a 3.5 game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League East at the end of the All-Star break, have a realistic chance of make the playoffs for the first time since the 2012 season. They have a dominant bullpen, are second in the league in runs scored (409), have the second most RBIs in the league (389) have the third best team OPS in the AL (.748) and have hit a league leading 116 homers.

The worst two pitchers in the rotation have been Nathan Eovaldi (4.50 ERA in 98 innings) and CC Sabathia (5.47 ERA in 100.1 innings). However, Sabathia allowed two earned runs in his last start before the break and Eovaldi has impressively allowed two runs or less in four of his last five starts.

It is not likely that Sabathia will be taken out of the rotation based on how much he has accomplished in his career and how much he is being paid, which means that he needs to consistently lower his ERA the rest of the season. Eovaldi has been throwing his off-speed pitches in better counts and with better command, which his helped him not have to rely on his overpowering fastball as much.

The team’s biggest weakness has been the rotation, which can improve with more consistency from Micael Pineda (3.64 ERA in 106.1 innings) and Masahiro Tanaka (3.63 ERA in 67 innings), who are the top two starters in the rotation.

Mark Teixeira, who was an All-Star this season after reaching the All-Star break fourth in the league in homers (22) and first in RBIs (62), and Alex Rodriguez, who is tied for 12th in homers (18) and tied for 16th in RBIs (51) have both had great bounce back seasons, have been key run producers in the middle of the lineup and the Yankees would not have a 48-40 record without their improved play this season. The Yankees will need both Teixeira and Rodriguez to stay healthy and productive the rest of the season in order to win the division.

The Yankees have a 25-16 record at home so far this season and a not as good 23-24 record on the road. They will have a favorable schedule after the All-Star break since they will not have any more games in the Pacific Time Zone and will play 40 games at Yankee Stadium and only 34 games on the road.

The Mariners, who have Jesus Montero, Austin Jackson and Robinson Cano on their roster, are in fourth place in the AL West with a 41-48 record. The Mariners went 4-4 in their last eight games before the All-Star break.

Here are the pitching matchups for this weekend series against the Seattle Mariners.

RHP Masahiro Tanaka (5-3, 3.63)
LHP Mike Montgomery (4-3, 2.29)
7:05 p.m., YES Network

RHP Michael Pineda (9-5, 3.64)
RHP Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 5.52)
1:05 p.m., YES Network and MLB Network

LHP CC Sabathia (4-8, 5.47)
RHP Felix Hernandez (11-5, 2.84)
1:05 p.m., WPIX


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