Yankees start second half with series against Rockies, a turnaround on the cards

Yankees' Carlos Rodon and Rockies' Austin Gomber

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After ending the first half with a dismal 49-42, the New York Yankees out in Colorado to start their second half with a series against the Rockies in Denver this Friday, July 14. With a new hitting coach and lots of soul-searching, fans are expecting a resurgence of the famed Yankees offense. The thrilling three-game series holds a distinct allure, resembling a spin-off version of the All-Star Game itself.

While it is unwise to underestimate any team in the realm of baseball, this particular series presents a favorable opportunity for the New York Yankees to commence the second half of the season on a positive note. Currently ranked 11th in the Power Rankings among all MLB teams, the Yankees are keen on finding their rhythm at the plate. The Rockies, on the other hand, find themselves ranked 28th, creating a potential advantage for the visiting Yankees.

A significant factor contributing to the unique nature of Coors Field, the venue for this exciting series, is the physics behind its high altitude and lower air pressure. These conditions result in reduced air resistance, particularly affecting the flight and spin of the ball when it is struck, particularly fly balls. Coors Field holds a remarkable distinction as the site where the longest home runs hit by each of the 30 MLB clubs since the start of the 2015 season (according to Statcast) were launched a total of seven times. The effect of the lower air pressure allows the ball to carry a longer trajectory, adding an extra dimension of excitement to the games played at this renowned baseball park.

RankDistance (feet)PlayerTeamDate
1504Giancarlo StantonMarlinsAug 6, 2016
1504C.J. CronRockiesSept 9, 2022
2499Christian YelichBrewersSept 6, 2022
3493Michael A. TaylorNationalsAug 20, 2015
4487Rangel RaveloCardinalsSept 12, 2019
5478Jackie Bradley Jr.Red SoxAug 27, 2019
6477Joc PedersonDodgersJun 2, 2015

Given the New York Yankees’ impressive slugging prowess, their ability to make solid contact with the pitched balls of the Colorado Rockies could prove advantageous in this series. The offensive statistics heavily favor the Yankees, enhancing their prospects for success.

Furthermore, the Yankees boast a formidable pitching rotation for this series. Notably, the team holds a collective ERA of 3.80, ranking them 7th among all MLB teams. In contrast, the Rockies find themselves in a less favorable position with a 5.72 ERA, placing them 29th in the league. Considering these numbers, the Yankees hold a significant advantage in terms of pitching performance.

The Yankees have also announced their starting pitchers for each game, further solidifying their strong rotation.

Yankees vs. Rockies: 1st game, July 14 Rodon vs. Gomber

Carlos Rodon’s statistic from the first half:

Taking the mound in the opening game of this series is Carlos Rodon, who is making his second start of the season. Opposing him will be Austin Gomber, the second-ranked starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies. Rodon’s previous outing, which occurred on July 7 against the Chicago Cubs, showcased a promising performance. In that game, he allowed only 4 hits, 2 earned runs, and 2 walks over a span of 5 and 1/3 innings. It is worth noting that Rodon has faced the Rockies in the past.

Carlos Rodon of New York Yankees

Rodon has set high expectations for himself, demonstrating a competitive attitude during his debut and expressing his commitment to utilizing his full range of pitching arsenal. He plans to incorporate a higher frequency of breaking pitches, including his curveball, slider, and changeup, in addition to relying on his dependable 4-seam fastball.

Yankees vs. Rockies 2nd game, July 15: Schmidt vs. Seabold

Clarke Schmidt’s statistic from the first half:

In the second game of the series, Clarke Schmidt will take the mound for the New York Yankees, going up against the Colorado Rockies’ third-ranked starting pitcher, Connor Seabold. Schmidt enters this game with a sense of momentum, having secured consecutive wins against the Athletics on June 29 and the Orioles on July 4. As a right-handed pitcher, Schmidt has gradually found his rhythm on the mound, and it is anticipated that he will continue delivering quality starts, including this particular game. Notably, this will be Schmidt’s first-ever encounter with the Colorado Rockies in his career.

Batters have recorded a .275 batting average against Schmidt’s pitches, highlighting the need for a well-executed strategy to effectively navigate opposing hitters and limit the number of runs conceded. Despite his 4.40 ERA, Schmidt is determined to maintain control over the game and minimize the scoring opportunities for the Rockies’ lineup.

Yankees vs. Rockies, 3rd game, July 16: Cole vs. Anderson

Gerrit Cole’s statistic from the first half:

Following his prestigious role as the starting pitcher for the American League in the All-Star Game, Gerrit Cole is now poised to take on Chase Anderson, the fourth-ranked starting pitcher for the Colorado Rockies. Expectations run high for Cole, as he aims to showcase his dominance on the mound and put the Rockies’ lineup to the test. With his impressive repertoire, Cole remains a top contender in the conversation for the Cy Young Award.

Of particular note is Cole’s exceptional four-seam fastball, which has experienced a remarkable resurgence this season. It stands out as one of the most effective pitches in all of Major League Baseball, having produced a staggering 185 outs. Cole’s overall performance further bolsters his reputation, with a 2.85 ERA (ranking seventh overall) and 123 strikeouts (ranking sixth in the American League).

Gerrit Cole pitches as other Yankees starters look at him.
Helvin Rojas

As he takes the mound against the Rockies, Cole’s arm is primed to deliver a masterful display, backed by his arsenal of pitches and the statistics that solidify his position among the league’s elite pitchers.

Yankees vs. Rockies catcher’s matchup: Kyle Higashioka vs Elias Diaz

Undoubtedly, the Rockies’ catcher possesses a clear advantage when it comes to offensive numbers, earning him a well-deserved spot on the All-Star team. In this particular matchup, the determining factor will be the level of motivation Elías Díaz brings to the table as he enters the second half of the season. Díaz’s performance in the All-Star Game, where he delivered a clutch go-ahead home run in the eighth inning, not only helped secure a victory for the National League but also earned him the prestigious title of All-Star Game MVP, a remarkable achievement for a rookie. The question now is whether Díaz can maintain that momentum and bring it into the second half of the season.

Behind the plate, Higashioka will need to exhibit his best defensive skills and showcase his baseball intelligence in order to assist the pitchers effectively. Additionally, he must focus on improving his collaboration with the offensive side of the game, an area where he has faced challenges in the past. It will be crucial for Higashioka to contribute both defensively and offensively to support the team’s efforts in this matchup.

Yankees vs. Rockies first basemen matchup: Anthony Rizzo vs Nolan Jones

Anthony Rizzo stands out as a superior first baseman, both offensively and defensively. While he experienced a recent slump from June until the conclusion of the first half of the season, it is essential to note that he had a strong start earlier in the year. Rizzo remains a prominent figure within the New York Yankees team and is expected to capitalize on the shift ban, which should enhance his hitting performance in the second half of the season.

Of particular significance is the addition of Sean Casey as the new hitting coach. Casey’s expertise as a left-handed first baseman with a batting average of over .300 brings valuable insights to the table. Under Casey’s guidance, Rizzo has the opportunity to make necessary adjustments and regain his status as an elite hitter. This series against the Colorado Rockies could serve as a crucial stage for Rizzo’s resurgence and a demonstration of his exceptional offensive capabilities.

Anthony Volpe, Rizzo, Aaron Judge, and Cortes celebrates after the rookie shortstop Volpe drove in the winning run with a sacrifice fly in against the Orioles on May 23, 2023, at Yankee Stadium.

Yankees vs. Rockies second basemen matchup: Gleyber Torres vs Harold Castro

When it comes to the matchup between second basemen, Gleyber Torres and Harold Castro, Torres stands out as a reliable option for the New York Yankees. Despite having a lower batting average, Torres is a player the team can depend on both offensively and defensively when the situation demands it.

Yankees vs. Rockies third baseman matchup: Josh Donaldson vs Ryan McMahon

Shifting our focus to the third basemen matchup, the Yankees have a choice between DJ LeMahieu and Josh Donaldson. While LeMahieu could potentially fill the role, the advantage seems to favor the Colorado Rockies in this case. The Rockies’ third baseman, Ryan McMahon, has displayed greater consistency throughout the season. However, both LeMahieu and Donaldson have the ability to contribute with their batting skills.

If the Yankees decide to place LeMahieu on the field as the third baseman, it could bring an interesting nostalgic factor into play. The matchup against his former team in his former baseball park might serve as motivation, igniting a mindset that allows LeMahieu to showcase some of the skills his former Rockies fans were accustomed to seeing from him, both with his bat and his glove.

Yankees vs. Rockies short stop matchup: Anthony Volpe vs Ezequiel Tovar

Rockies’ Tovar had clear better first half than Volpe.

Yankees vs. Rockies Centerfielder matchup: Harrison Bader vs Randal Grichuk

Once again, offensive statistics seem to present a disadvantage for a New York Yankees player. However, it is crucial to recognize that Harrison Bader remains a dependable outfielder who effectively patrols center field and can contribute with his bat when necessary. Despite the focus on offensive numbers, it is important not to overlook Bader’s slugging factor, as indicated by his .461 slugging percentage. This figure speaks volumes about his capacity to hit the ball with power, particularly in a venue like Coors Field, where the ball tends to carry farther distances. Bader’s ability to drive the ball and take advantage of the favorable conditions at Coors Field should not be underestimated.

Yankees vs. Rockies DH matchup: Giancarlo Stanton vs C.J. Cron

Giancarlo Stanton’s performance on July 8, going 2 for 3 with 2 home runs, followed by an 0 for 4 outing with 2 strikeouts on July 9, highlights the inconsistency that has plagued this slugger throughout the first half of the season. With Aaron Judge injured and uncertain about his return, the Yankees are in dire need of Stanton’s ability to generate extra-base hits and improve his overall batting performance. Despite his recent struggles, it is essential to recognize that Stanton remains a formidable home run threat, especially in a power-friendly environment like Coors Field, where the altitude can enhance his power.

The matchup between Stanton and the Rockies’ pitching staff promises to be captivating, potentially turning into a record-breaking home run challenge. Both Stanton and his counterparts have the potential to launch the ball out of the park with their heavy swings, making for an exciting series. It would be even more satisfying to witness Stanton deliver another multi-home run game or series, showcasing his immense power at the plate.

Shifting focus to the broader topic of hitting, it is clear that the team’s offensive performance will be closely evaluated during this series. The hiring of Sean Casey as the new hitting coach reflects the organization’s commitment to addressing the factors that led to the Yankees’ poor hitting in the first half of the season. The primary goal is to identify and rectify these issues, making the necessary adjustments that can transform the team’s batting statistics, such as their .231 batting average (28th overall), .300 on-base percentage (27th overall), .308 weighted on-base average (24th overall), and 9.6 wins above replacement (18th overall), into figures that at least rank within the top 10 or higher among all MLB clubs. The focus is on flipping the script and elevating the Yankees’ offensive performance to a more competitive level.

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One thought on “Yankees start second half with series against Rockies, a turnaround on the cards

  1. Do you really think the yankees can do better now than in the first half? Then you are looking through the same rose colored glasses that Steingrabber, Cashout, and Loone are looking through. Maybe smoking the same stuff. Either way it is delusional to think they are going to be better. Don’t buy Ohtani or any other high priced talent. Take the hit this year, get rid of the bloat and develop the young talent.

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