Although it’s not extraordinary news, the New York Yankees swapped CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda’s starts which may put the Bombers in a better position to sweep.
The initial reaction was that it was no big deal, however, taking advantage of the off day and moving Sabathia up to square off against the Baltimore Orioles to go for the sweep could prove to be a fitting move.
For starters, despite his recent improvement (3.86 earned run average in last three starts) Pineda has surrendered 16 home runs in 13 starts at Yankee Stadium so perhaps facing a team on pace for 250 total home runs isn’t the greatest of ideas.
Additionally, having Big Mike pitch Monday at Kauffman Stadium – where he is 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA – could prove to be beneficial since every game from now on is hypothetically a must-win given the competitiveness for the American League Wild Card.
Furthermore, the Yankees’ lone southpaw in the rotation has demonstrated pure dominance against Baltimore this season by allowing just four runs in 18.2 innings of work in three starts.
In the first two of three starts in Baltimore, the big guy impressed with 13 innings of shutout ball and is going into Sunday’s start fresh off a three-hit performance in Seattle.
Also, for Sabathia, it’s even more of a beneficial switch because he’ll get to face a lefty-heavy O’s lineup in which he should fare well against. Left-handed hitters are hitting a mere .214 against Sabathia, while right-handers are hitting .262.
It goes a little further than individual success against one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league, though.
This season, the Orioles have the worst batting average (.230), the worst on-base percentage, the worst slugging percentage (.381), and the worst OPS (.679) against left-handed pitching in the AL.
While this move appeared to be low key and nothing truly behind it besides avoiding the home run-happy Orioles facing the home run-happy Michael Pineda, Girardi is using all the resources he can to narrow his team’s gap in the improbable playoff chase they are currently in.