Yankees vs. A’s series: 7 storylines to follow in Oakland showdown

Oakland's Jed Lowrie and Yankees Gleyber Torres

Table of Contents

Fresh from their recent victory against the Rangers, the Yankees will start a three-game on-road series against the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday. Playing without Aaron Judge, the Yankees draw as much criticism as attention. Here are key, intriguing subplots to watch in the team for the Yankees fans.

Will there be a redemption of slumping veterans?

Yankees players in action during the game over the Texas Rangers, on sunday, June 25.
New York Yankees

The absence of Aaron Judge, coupled with the struggling offense, has made the Yankees‘ hitting woes all the more evident. While DJ LeMahieu and Giancarlo Stanton have garnered significant attention for their June struggles, it’s worth noting that Antony Rizzo and Gleyber Torres have also been among the Yankees’ underperforming players this month.

Rizzo has recorded a mere 11 hits in 66 at-bats (.167), accompanied by a .498 OPS and a meager five RBI. Similarly, Torres has amassed 13 hits in 71 at-bats (.183) with a .609 OPS and only five RBI to his name.

Despite enduring a frustrating stretch, LeMahieu managed to gather two hits, both doubles and drive in two runs during the team’s recent homestand, albeit with two strikeouts and hitting into two double plays. On the other hand, Stanton, who had been struggling with a .121 batting average, broke his 0-for-20 slump with a single on Saturday, followed by an RBI hit in the eighth inning of Sunday’s victory. However, those two hits were his only ones in 17 at-bats throughout the homestand.

Can Anthony Volpe carry the big expectations?

The Jonas Brothers are chatting with Anthony Volpe at Yankee Stadium, April 4, 2023.
Twitter

Among the struggling hitters, the most encouraging performances have been exhibited by Anthony Volpe, who has a .196 batting average. The young shortstop showcased positive signs by going 4-for-14 with a double, a home run, and drawing four walks in the team’s last six games.

However, there are higher expectations from the Yankees’ rookie shortstop. Throughout his initial 78 games in the major leagues, Volpe has exhibited a recurring pattern of swinging and missing, followed by an ability to rebound. Just when it seems he may have lost his way, he manages to rediscover his form.

In the span of 11 games since adjusting his stance, Volpe has displayed a batting average of .258 along with an impressive on-base percentage of .378. Despite his struggles to consistently make contact, his knack for drawing walks has compensated for this shortcoming. Although Volpe still contends with a high strikeout rate, the Yankees are willing to accept it given his overall solid performance. They have demonstrated a firm commitment to his development.

Yankees manager Boone expressed his confidence in Volpe’s recent progress, noting a noticeable improvement in the quality of his at-bats over the past week or so.

Where will the story around Josh Donaldson go?

Yankees' Josh Donaldson ducks away from a pitch by Orioles' Jordan Lyles on May 18, 2022, in Baltimore.
AP

Before Sunday’s game, Donaldson, who has been struggling for the past month, engaged in an extensive discussion with manager Aaron Boone after being excluded from the lineup for the third consecutive game. The conversation lasted so long that the manager was delayed in addressing the media at his usual time. As both Boone and Donaldson tried to keep details under wraps, the attention is more focused on the third baseman than ever.

After the game, Donaldson commented that the conversation with Boone primarily revolved around various aspects of baseball. He expressed his belief that the situation was not as significant as portrayed by the media, emphasizing that they were simply engaged in a conversation. Donaldson also mentioned that he was unaware of Boone’s scheduled meeting with the media, which resulted in the conversation extending beyond its intended timeframe.

Since his return from the injured list on June 2, Donaldson has recorded a batting average of .125 with six hits, five of which were home runs, in 48 at-bats. Regarding Donaldson’s recent performance, Boone stated that the former MVP, who is currently on a hitless streak of 14 at-bats, is considered an everyday player and was given a couple of days to address certain aspects of his game.

Despite being given limited playing time, Donaldson has managed to contribute seven RBI in June, which is currently the second-highest on the team. It will be intriguing to observe whether the 37-year-old can increase his tally when facing one of his previous teams.

Will Domingo German break the two-game jinx?

domingo-german-ny-yankees

During his initial two starts in June, Domingo German demonstrated impressive performance by conceding only two runs on 10 hits and three walks while recording 11 strikeouts across 12.2 innings. As a result, his season ERA decreased to 3.49.

However, in his previous two starts versus Boston and Seattle, German’s performance took a downturn as he surrendered a total of 17 runs (15 earned) on 15 hits, along with four walks and two hit batters, all within a mere 5.1 innings pitched. These struggles resulted in an alarming 25.31 ERA for those two outings. Consequently, German’s season ERA climbed to 5.10.

Summing up the Yankees’ right-hander’s performance this season, he posted a 5.54 ERA over 26 innings in April, followed by a stronger showing in May with a 2.54 ERA across 28.1 innings. However, during one of his May starts, he was ejected and subsequently received a 10-game suspension for using prohibited substances on his hands. In June, his struggles returned, resulting in an 8.50 ERA over 18 innings. With another start scheduled for the second game of the series on Wednesday, it remains to be seen how he will fare.

The upcoming appearance of the 30-year-old on the mound remains uncertain, as it is difficult to predict which version of him will show up.

Will the Yankees bullpen and rookie starters stand firm?

jhony-brito-new-york-yankees
AP

Despite Michael King’s challenging performance in the recent loss on Friday night, where he conceded a two-run home run in the 10th inning, the bullpen as a whole showcased their reliability. Throughout the homestand, the bullpen accumulated 19.1 innings pitched, surrendering merely three runs (two of which were earned) on 13 hits. They maintained strong control with only four walks while striking out 23 opposing batters.

While the Yankees’ offense struggled to make a significant impact, the bullpen emerged as a saving grace with an impressive 0.93 ERA. They delivered exceptional performances in five of those games, preventing the opposition from scoring. Michael King, despite allowing a hit, showcased his prowess by striking out two batters and securing his fifth save of the season in Sunday’s game. The bullpen’s stellar efforts played a crucial role in keeping the team competitive during this period.

Tuesday’s starting pitcher, Jhony Brito, also has the opportunity to build upon his strong performance in his previous outing. He showcased his skills by pitching 5.2 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits, three walks, and recording seven strikeouts against Seattle. Additionally, it is crucial for manager Aaron Boone to maintain a positive atmosphere within the clubhouse and remain composed in the face of any potentially questionable calls by umpires.

Can Triple-A call-ups continue to keep the Yankees going?

billy-mcKinney-ny-yankees
Twitter

As anticipated, Billy McKinney has emerged as the team leader in various offensive categories for the month, including hits (16), total bases (33), batting average (.302), on-base percentage (.327), slugging percentage (.623), and OPS (.950).

While Jake Bauers‘ recent performance has seen a slight decline, he continues to excel in certain areas for the team. Currently, he leads the team in doubles (7) and RBI (9) and holds the second-highest OPS at .790. Additionally, he showcased his defensive skills with a crucial outfield assist that prevented a run from scoring in Saturday’s victory.

Will the Triple-A call-ups continue their contribution to keeping the Yankees offense bolstered?

Can the Yankees sweep a distressed Oakland?

Following an unexpected and impressive seven-game winning streak, the A’s have encountered a significant downturn, suffering defeats in 10 of their last 11 games. This slump has resulted in their current record of 20-60 for the season. As the series against the A’s approaches, the Yankees have a prime opportunity to capitalize on the A’s struggles, and there is a strong expectation that they will aim for a sweep, symbolized by the metaphorical “brooms” that represent their determination to come out victorious under Boone’s leadership.

After enduring a sweep at Fenway Park, the Yankees showed resilience by rebounding with a 4-2 record during the homestand against the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, despite being outscored 17-20 in total. It’s worth noting that they emerged victorious against two teams harboring aspirations of making it to the playoffs. However, they must guard against underestimating their opponents in the upcoming series against an organization primarily focused on relocating to Las Vegas, rather than on-field success.

As of Monday, the New York Yankees (43-35) find themselves trailing the unexpectedly strong Baltimore team by five games. The upcoming four-game series against Baltimore, scheduled for early July in the Bronx, presents a crucial opportunity for the Yankees to close the gap and potentially surpass the Orioles. Therefore, it is imperative for the Yankees to remain within striking distance of Baltimore, making it all the more crucial that they capitalize on the chance to dominate the struggling Athletics team.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join the Pinstripes Nation!

Your Daily Dose of Yankees Magic Delivered to Your Inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Don't Miss Any of the Latest Yankees News, Rumors, and Exclusive Offers!