Series Preview: New York Yankees (23-20) at Chicago Cubs (15-27)

In Series Previews by berselius

The Yankees head to town this week, fittingly the week after the Cubs did their Babe Ruth called shot giveaway. Nice work on that one, Cubs marketing department.

The Yankees are missing a lot of key players to injury, not surprising given the age of the team. Carlos Beltran went down last week with a bone spur in his elbow that might need surgery, and catcher Francisco Cervelli is on the 60-day DL with a major hamstring injury suffered in April. CC Sabathia is dealing with a knee injury and probably won’t be back until July, and pine tar aficionado Michael Pineda is rehabbing a shoulder strain. Yet another member of the opening day rotation, Ivan Nova, is out for the year with TJS. Currently active players Mark Teixeira, Derek Jeter, and Brian Roberts have all had various day-to-day injuries throughout the season as well. It’s kind of amazing that they’re in first place in the AL east despite all this.

Team Overviews

MLB rank in parens


  • wRC+: 81 (29th)
  • BSR: 1.7 (8th)
  • UZR: 3.8 (13th)
  • DRS: 11 (10th)
  • SP FIP-: 82 (2nd)
  • RP FIP-: 98 (17th)


  • wRC+: 103 (9th)
  • BSR: 4.1 (2nd)
  • UZR: -7.4 (21st)
  • DRS: -3 (16th)
  • SP FIP-: 101 (15th)
  • RP FIP-: 88 (9th)

It’s kind of strange to see the Cubs bullpen as, gasp, above average for once. A couple of weeks without Jose Veras probably helped.

Pitching Probables

ERA, xFIP, projected FIP listed for each pitcher

Tuesday: Masahiro Tanaka, RHP (2.17, 2.17, 2.97) vs Jason Hammel, RHP (3.06, 3.60, 3.93), 7:05 PM CT

Tanaka’s been everything that was expected and then some. He currently has a K/BB of 9.43, which I hear is pretty good. He went eight shutout innings against the Cubs a month ago, striking out only ten and walking one. His splitter is his best pitch, and I would guess that he throws it more than anyone else in the league (~25%).

Hammel broke his streak of seven straight quality starts with a five-run outing against the Cardinals last week. Most of it was just some bad sequencing – he struck out the side in the first, but then had more than half of the baserunners in the whole outing happen in the second inning. He’s been exactly what the Cubs were hoping for when they signed him.

Wednesday: Chase Whitley, RHP (0.00, 3.21, 4.69) vs Jeff Samardzija, RHP (1.62, 3.47, 3.36), 1:20 PM CT

Sorry, Hunter Pence, but you have lost your title as guy with the whitest name in baseball. Whitely has made one start so far on the year, a 4.2 inning outing against the Mets. He cruised along in his first four innings but was pulled in the fifth when two walks led to guys on second and third with two outs. Great job by the Mets to give away outs to a guy making his MLB debut and losing a handle on the strike zone. He threw all four of his pitches more or less equally in the start,  and averages around 92 with his fastballs.

Shark left his start in Milwaukee after only five innings (and a relatively low pitch count IIRC). He was knocked around a bit, but the defense behind him was knocking balls around as well, including two errors and a wild pitch in the first inning. He’s still looking for his first W.

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