Alright. Baseball’s back again. We’re done with the awful ESPYs, the trading desk is getting busy, and the Red Sox have a interesting stretch where they play AL East teams. So who better to kick off this set of inter-divisional games with than our very best buddies, the New York Yankees! Let’s get started.

NEW YORK YANKEES – 51-44, 4th place in the AL East (6 GB)

I’m honestly stunned the Yankees are that far over .500 for the season at this point. With such fearsome hitters such as Luis Cruz & Chris Stewart in their lineup, you’d expect them to be awful. They’d be leading the NL West and tied for second in the AL Central! Just so ridiculous. They’ve come this far living on the waiver wire, and the Red Sox will be looking to end their oddly successful venture here.

Quite literally the most feared Yankee today.

Quite literally the most feared Yankee today.

PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP

1 – Brett Gardner – CF - .272/.338/.422

  • Super-speedy outfielder. Likes to run and does it often, as his 2010-2011 seasons show when he had 96 steals in those two years.
  • Very good in the field, but since he’s been moved around a bit this year, his metrics have dropped as a result of shuffling.
  • Used to walk a lot and not strike out, but his walk rate’s regressed and his strikeout rate has gotten worse compared to his last full season in 2011.

2 – Ichiro Suzuki – RF - .283/.320/.393

  • Won’t ever touch 200 hits again, but still a capable outfielder. Not much power to speak of, but that’s been his whole career.
  • Doesn’t walk or strike out very much. Puts the ball in play and makes the fielders get him out instead of the pitcher.
  • Still has a good ability to steal bases. On pace to get 20 steals for the 13th straight(!) season.

3 – Robinson Cano – 2B - .302/.386/.531

  • Probably the one player the Yankees can least afford to lose, and he goes and gets nailed in the knee by Matt Harvey in the All-Star Game.
  • Since 2011, his walk rate has steadily increased and his strikeout rate has decreased. He’s actually becoming more patient.
  • Not the greatest fielder, but he’s adequate enough to hold his own. His offensive production more than makes up for it.

4 – Travis Hafner – DH – .218/.314/.407

  • With the DH, it’s pick your poison time for the Yankees. You either have Hafner, who hits bombs, or Vernon Wells, who kinda doesn’t do that.
  • Power’s still there to a degree, but you have to deal with his declining skills. The man is in the final stages of his career at 36 years old.
  • He’s walking slightly worse than his career numbers, but striking out a hell of a lot more. All for a .189 ISO.

5 – Zoilo Almonte – LF - .267/.312/.349 (in 93 PA)

  • Take this as you will: Almonte has the team’s seventh-highest total fWAR and he’s only played for roughly a month. 
  • Showed increased patience at the plate in the 290-or-so PA in Triple-A before being called up. Some power was starting to develop.
  • In the field, he’s not too shabby. He’s already racked up two Defensive Runs Saved and he’s 4.4 runs above league average.

6 – Lyle Overbay – 1B - .252/.308/.437

  • Woe is the Red Sox, for letting this first baseman and his .323 wOBA go to the Yankees because of that Mike Carp guy!
  • A 101 wRC+ indicates that he’s ever so slightly over league average offensively. By “ever so slightly”, I mean by 1%.
  • His slugging is finally around his .438 career average for the first time since 2010, so there’s been some rebound.

7 – Eduardo Nunez – SS - .215/.285/.271 (in 125 PA)

  • Nunez has cost the Yankees a full win. A replacement-level player would’ve actually been drastically better for New York over those 125 PA. 
  • He’s been seven runs below average in the field and has -11 Defensive Runs Saved. Brian Cashman wants those runs back, Nunez…
  • I’m not kidding, it’s really hard to find a positive here. His BABIP is at .267, so he’s due for some progression, I guess?

8 – Luis Cruz – 3B - .214/.250/.238 (in 45 PA)

  • Cruz was just acquired by the Yankees, so in the spirit of the last two batters, he hasn’t had enough time to take wins away yet.
  • He’s not awful with the glove, but he is pretty bad with the bat, so he’s only starting out of necessity until Alex Rodriguez comes back on Monday.
  • Walking at a 3.5% rate over the year, and that’s something that makes pitchers grin uncontrollably when they see it.

9 – Chris Stewart – C - .241/.316/.306

  • Primarily a backup catcher with good defensive skills. Forced into a full-time role thanks to Francisco Cervelli‘s injuries.
  • No power to speak of, as a .065 ISO doesn’t really describe a very prolific slugger in the majors leagues.
  • He’s actually been worth nearly a win this year, which is surprising seeing his offensive capabilities…

Who’s hot? – Last 14 games

  • Robinson Cano: 4 HR, 17 RBI, 1.1 fWAR
  • Ichiro Suzuki: .353 AVG, 9 runs, 151 wRC+

Who’s not? – Last 14 games

  • Eduardo Nunez: 3.3 BB%, .259 SLG, 37 wRC+
  • Travis Hafner: 0 HR, .195 AVG, .254 wOBA
You're up, Felix. Start it off right.

You’re up, Felix. Start it off right.

SERIES PROBABLES

Felix Doubront vs. Andy Pettitte

The first of two lefty battles, with the young Doubront going up against the veteran Pettitte. Pettitte is gonna be hell on lefties, but with all the righties in the Red Sox lineup, there’s sure to be some offense by Boston here.

John Lackey vs. Hiroki Kuroda

The most valuable non-injured starter going up against one of the most consistent. This one might turn into a pitchers’ duel, with both Lackey & Kuroda’s talents for inducing ground balls and keeping it in the yard as well.

Jon Lester vs. C.C. Sabathia

Two maligned southpaws face off! Will Jon Lester finally have the bounce-back we’ve all been waiting on? Or will Sabathia be fantastic on primetime? Tune into ESPN (or NESN, if you’re lucky enough to not get it blacked out) to find out!

INJURY REPORT

  • Boston
    • Stephen Drew: Expected to be activated from 15-day DL for Saturday’s game (June 28th, tightness in right hamstring)
  • New York
    • Derek Jeter: Questionable for Friday’s game (July 16th, strained right quadriceps)
    • Robinson Cano: Questionable for Friday’s game (July 16th, bruised right knee/quadriceps)

IN CONCLUSION

Are you ready for some baseball? Because as we’ve found out, the best ad for baseball…is no baseball at all. The rivalry is renewed!

Categories: 2013 Boston Red Sox Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner C.C. Sabathia Chris Stewart Derek Jeter Eduardo Nunez Felix Doubront Hiroki Kuroda Ichiro Suzuki John Lackey Jon Lester Lyle Overbay Matt Harvey Mike Carp New York Yankees Robinson Cano Stephen Drew Travis Hafner Vernon Wells

Brett Cowett is a young, die-hard Red Sox fan. An undergrad at Arizona State University, Brett is studying digital journalism with a minor in Dustin Pedroia studies. Apart from laughing at Nick Swisher's escapades in the field, Brett enjoys the occasional sci-fi flick, playing Halo, and being snarky. Follow him at @BACowett for more baseball, random musings, and random baseball musings.

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