Series Preview: Yankees at Indians 4/8-11

New York Yankees (2-4) at Cleveland Indians (3-3

Series 3, Games 7, 8, 9 and 10
Progressive Field (2012): 0.899*, Pitchers park.
*Park Factor compares the rate of stats at home vs. the rate of stats on the road. A rate higher than 1.000 favors the hitter. Below 1.000 favors the pitcher.

Series Overview
The New York Yankees help open up Progressive Field for the first time this season for a four game series. However, these are not the typical Yankees we are used to fearing. Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira will all miss an extended period of time due to injuries. For at least a little more than a month, the Yankees are going to have a lot of money and a lot of star power on the disabled list, something the organization has not had to deal with a lot. The team still stands to earn a playoff birth, as all three of these players will return this season. Thankfully, it will not be this week in Cleveland.

It would be easy to dismiss this as an argument that the Yankees are going to be okay because they’re the Yankees. Given how often the Yankees have wound up playing in October, one now expects them to be there, but that isn’t the main point. The Yankees won’t be okay because they’re the Yankees; the Yankees look like they’ll be okay because they still have quality players, and neither Granderson nor Teixeira should be out all season long.

It was interesting to see Ben Francisco crack the Yankees opening day lineup at DH when the Indians did not have room for him on their roster. With Travis Hafner and Francisco on the Yankee roster, its nice to be able to say to a Yankee fan "…the Yankees are the triple-A team for the Indians!" 
Sort of.
The weather for this series looks awful, a cold rain every night.
Monday, April 8, 4:05 EDT (STO, WKYC, MLBN)
Ubaldo Jimenez (0-0, 1.50 ERA)  vs. Hiroki Kuroda (0-1, 13.50 ERA)

In his first start of the season, Kuroda suffered a bruised right middle finger after he was hit by a line drive through the middle hit by Shane Victorino in the second inning of a 7-4 loss to the Red Sox. Kuroda faced three more batters, hitting two of them and walking the third, before he was removed from the game. He threw 36 pitches in a bullpen session on Friday and said he was "…not 100%." But he will make the start, so we'll see. The current Indians have not had a lot of success against Kuroda; Michael Bourne and Mark Reynolds have the most at-bats (26) and are .192/.192/.231 and .192/.222/.308 respectively. Michael Brantley does have a home-run against him.

Tuesday, April 9, 7:05EDT (STO)
Carlos Carrasco (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (L) (1-0, 1.13 ERA)

The consensus among most fans and writers was that Carrasco would head to Columbus after serving a six-game suspension to start the season, but with the injury to Scott Kazmir, Carrasco will step in to make his first big league start since 2011. Carrasco had a decent spring, posting a 6.00 ERA and a 6.5 K/9 in five games (four starts) this spring. From what we have seen of him in the majors, Carrasco has improved his control/command from when he pitched in the minors. He only had one season (2010) when his BB/9 was below three when had at least ten starts in the minors. Carrasco has already had two seasons with a BB/9 below three since reaching the majors. Let's hope that trend continues. He missed the entire 2012 campaign recovering from September 2011 Tommy John surgery.

Wednesday, April 10, 7:05EDT (STO, ESPN 2)
Brett Myers (0-1, 12.60 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (0-1, 7.71 ERA)
Myer's debut with the Indians did not go exactly as he had planned; he allowed four homers and failed to record a strikeout. Myers will obviously have to turn things around after a mediocre spring and bad first start. Ivan Nova's curveball and slider are among the league's best. According to ESPN Stats and Info, opponents batted just .200 against them last season and struck out 130 times, the third-largest total in baseball. He did not face the Indians last year, and most hitters on the roster do not have many at-bats against him. Carlos Santana has hit a HR against him.

Thursday, April 11, 7:05pmEDT (STO, MLBN)

Zach McAllister (0-1, 3.00 ERA) vs. Phil Hughes (0-1, 6.75 ERA)

McAllister looked good Friday night in Tampa despite getting the loss. He threw 66 strikes in 103 pitches and did not walk a batter over six innings. Third baseman Mike Aviles had a two out error on a grounder in the fifth which led to the pair of unearned runs. But McAllister came back for a perfect sixth to close out his evening. Hughes is an extreme fly-ball pitcher, with his 50.8 percent rate in 2012 and 48.9 percent rate from 2010 to 2012 combined both being the highest in baseball. Hopefully, the wind is blowing out towards right.

Mike Melaragno

About Mike Melaragno

A 2010 graduate of Lee University, Mike loves writes about the game he loves most-- baseball. From an early age, he learned to live and die with the Tribe-- mostly die. Died a little when they lost the 1997 World Series in extra innings; died a lot when they were one game away from advancing to the fall classic in 2007 but fell to the Red Sox in game seven of the ALCS. He currently resides in Northeast Ohio.