The Yankees have already played the A's this year, taking 2 of 3 on the road, but Yankeeist hadn't begun detailing the team's historical performances yet, so here's a belated look at how the Bombers have done against Oakland in the past:
The Yankees first trip to Oakland this year was a bizarre one. Yankeeist was at the Coliseum to watch Phil Hughes take a no-hitter into the 8th inning. It was only broken up when a grounder hit him. Then, in the third game, Dallas Braden flipped out completely on Alex Rodriguez when A-Rod ran across the mound on his way back to 1st base. Braden was still barking about the incident a week later, and would go on to pitch a perfect game this season.
The baseball scheduling gods apparently have no sense of humor. Braden is on the DL. The only chance we'll have for a rematch against A-Rod will be at the end of the season, when Oakland comes into the Stadium to play 2 games. If there is any justice in the world at all, Dallas will be on the mound in the Bronx. Please, God, I don't ask for much.
Instead, Javier Vazquez goes against Ben Sheets in the 1st game. Vazquez was good but not great in his last start against Seattle. He held the M's to 3 runs in six innings, but labored to do it. After a string of solid starts Javy has slowed a bit. He was bad in his start in Arizona as well. Hopefully Oakland's weak lineup can help him get back on track. Sheets, meanwhile, has been consistently bad this year. In no month has he managed an ERA lower than 4.84. This one looks like it should be a Yankee victory, but with the offense only coming in bursts right now, who knows?
CC Sabathia looks to continue his recent run of dominance in the 2nd game. He'll pitch against Trevor Cahill. I have no idea who Cahill is, but his numbers are excellent (AL West, but still). This one has 2-1 loss written all over it. CC hasn't always pitched well in his hometown, and the 22 year-old Cahill is exactly the kind of pitcher who shuts the Yankees down the past couple of years. Hopefully the Bombers prove me wrong.
In the final game A.J. Burnett looks to continue to get back on track. Gio Gonzalez pitches for the A's, another young pitcher that I have never heard of but who is putting up solid numbers so far on the year. This one smells like a loss. I don't want to pencil A.J. in for consecutive solid starts until he manages to do it and, once again, the Yankees have proven vulnerable to pitchers they haven't seen as much this year. Even against the weak hitting A's I could easily see this one getting ugly.
This is a difficult stretch of games for the Yankees. The team plays 7 straight on the West Coast just before the All-Star break. On paper the Yankees should take at least 4 of these games against two struggling teams, but in reality the offense could sputter against Oakland's young pitchers before getting round 2 of the Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee pitching clinic in Seattle. It was this time last year that the Yankees lost 3 straight to Anaheim before the All-Star break, losing a share of 1st place in the process. Fortunately, the Red Sox are playing the Rays today, hopefully giving the Yankees a chance to give themselves some breathing room heading into the 2nd half.