Friday, August 8, 2014

Nick's Picks: Weekend Series vs Indians 8/8-8/10

Coming off a momentous series victory vs the Tigers, the Yankees look to keep pushing forward to October. This three game series with the Indians will be no different, because one thing you realize being a baseball fan is; you cannot predict it. Each game is more important than the next moving forward and it is key to finish up at the very least a series win at home heading into Monday's clash with the Orioles in Camden Yards. 

Tonight the Indians send to the hill Trevor Bauer, as the Yankees counter with newly acquired Esmil Rogers. Bauer has been looking good as of late, pitching quality starts in five of his last six outings since July 8th. The rookie right-hander looks to beat the Yankees for the second time this year and keep pace with the Yankees for the second Wild Card spot. 

Since I will be away this weekend I figured it best to make my picks for throughout the series instead of before each game. The Yankees cannot afford to come out of the gates thinking about last series. Good thoughts or bad, they need to start with a clean slate mentality for each game. Beat Bauer tonight and hope to gain ground. A lot of stars got to rest up during yesterday's thriller against the Tigers, including the bullpen. Some rest this series too would bode well heading into Monday with a chance to gain on the AL East leading Orioles. Picking this far ahead might be tricky but you can never predict what will happen. 

Top Pitcher: You have to look at my pick from yesterday for the top pitcher in tonight's game. Esmil Rogers is looking to be another quality pickup from Brian Cashman, and I look for him to duel Bauer most of the night and racking up six strikeouts and one run over 6 2/3-innings. 

Saturday will be a huge battle between McCarthy and Kluber. Corey Kluber has pitched terrific this season, a lone bright spot in the Indian pitching staff. Do not forget that McCarthy out-pitched Cy Young stud Max Scherzer on Monday so he could handle the pressure. I feel the bullpen will step up huge in this game and Betances will come through to nail down a late inning victory for the Yankees with a three strikeout inning. 

Sunday looks to be Kuroda's time to makeup that game against David Price. Look for Kuroda to battle strong and hopefully give the Yankees some innings without getting tired. I see him lasting seven strong with five strikeouts and giving up two runs. Hopefully Girardi keeps a close look at that binder and yanks Kuroda before it gets too late. 

Top Hitter: With the Yankees having not a whole lot of experience against Bauer, I can see some of the lefties stepping up in this game. Look for a hot Chase Headley to handle the bat well against Bauer and maybe connect on a few that drive in runs. I see him going 2-4 with a double and two RBI's. 

Saturday against Kluber will be even more daunting as the team has not faced him too often with Stephen Drew having faced him the most. I see Brett Gardner setting the pace in this game and doing what he does best; get on base. Gardner is going to get the ball rolling on Saturday by going 3-5 with a double and two singles and scoring two runs. 

Sunday looks to be up in the air for Cleveland's pitcher so I too will take a shot in the dark. Let's go with Prado doing some work going 2-4 and hitting a homerun in the game while driving in three runs. 

Clutch performer: Tonight is going to be a great game from the lefties and you cannot go wrong with McCann stepping in and finding a good pitch to drive. He has been hot as of late with the long ball and I can see him putting one out against Bauer. Look for McCann to provide a boost with a two run blast. 

Saturday I think the defense is going to have to step up huge. Countless games have shown us that Chase Headley is masterful on the diamond and Saturday every hit will matter. I see Headley saving the day with some amazing stops and runs saving dives at the hot corner to steal one away from the tribe. 

Sunday will be all Derek Jeter's time to shine. Look for the Captain to step up at the plate and in the field to lead the team to victory by scoring and saving runs. Maybe channeling some Jeter of old and laying down a nice sacrifice bunt or two. 

This series is going to be crucial for the Yankees and the Indians as their playoff hopes are in jeopardy with each passing game. I predict the Yankees to walk away with a series sweep against the Indians to prepare themselves for a showdown in Baltimore and be within reach of taking the lead. Let's go Yankees and hopefully we can come out strong each night. Those are my picks for the series, but remember YCPB. 


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