Series Preview: Yankees v. Cubs, May 20 – May 21, 2014

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Series Preview: Yankees v. Cubs, May 20 – May 21, 2014

Series Previews

new-york-yankees-logoThe Cubs welcome the Yankees for two in Chicago. Will turnabout be fair play? The Yankees won both games in New York.

Naturally, the Cubs will face Masahiro Tanaka again in one of the games, after he dominated Cubs batters last time out. (That the Cubs happened to draw Tanaka both times is particularly good for writers, by the way.


We’re Going Streaking

The Cubs have won two in a row, and they did it over the mighty Brewers! That means a series win, and we’ll just ignore anything that preceded it. All the Cubs have to do now is win another 10 straight games, and they’ll … still be a couple games under .500.

The Yankees lead the AL East (despite a run differential worse than the Cubs – not that I’m bitter) at 23-20. They’ve won four of five, and seven of twelve.

Game Times and Broadcasts

  • Tuesday, May 20 at 7:05 CT on WGN.
  • Wednesday, May 21 at 1:20 CT on CSN, MLBN.

Expected Starters and Lineups

These lineups are likely to be pretty close to what actually gets fielded, but you’ll want to check each day’s Pre-Gamin’ post for the actual lineup.


Starters: Jason Hammel (3.06 ERA, 3.36 FIP; 3.58 K/BB), Jeff Samardzija (1.62 ERA, 2.86 FIP; 2.68 K/BB)

Lineup (with obvious rotations in place):

  1. Emilio Bonifacio, CF
  2. Ryan Kalish, LF (Junior Lake gets in, too)
  3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
  4. Starlin Castro, SS
  5. Nate Schierholtz, RF
  6. Luis Valbuena, 2B (Darwin Barney seeing more and more time)
  7. Welington Castillo, C
  8. Mike Olt, 3B (he’s actually usually batting a bit higher than this, depending on other rotations)
  9. Pitcher


Starters: Masahiro Tanaka (2.17 ERA, 2.78 FIP; 9.43 K/BB), Chase Whitley (0.00 ERA, 2.65 FIP; 2.00 K/BB)


  1. Brett Gardner, LF
  2. Derek Jeter, SS
  3. Jacoby Ellsbury, CF
  4. Mark Teixiera, 1B
  5. Brian McCann, C
  6. Alfonso Soriano, RF
  7. Yangervis Solarte, 2B
  8. Kelly Johnson, 3B
  9. Pitcher

Hot or Not and Whom to Watch

Pitcher Win-Loss record is such a stupid stat (have I mentioned that before?), but I’ll forgive you for hoping we see some W/L results in this series: how sweet would it be to see the Cubs hand Masahiro Tanaka his first loss of the season (and first in like two years) today, and then get Jeff Samardzija his first win tomorrow? All the Cubs have to do is, you know, win both games in a way that comports with the arbitrary W/L stat rules.

Speaking of Samardzija, I’d say he’s been hot for his last X starts, but it’s pretty much been all season.

Don’t look now – seriously, don’t do it, or you’ll scare it away! – but Junior Lake is hitting .346/.357/.692 with a mere 17.85% strikeout rate over his last eight games.

The Yankees’ offensive WAR leader is … Brett Gardner.

Did the Yankees stumble backwards in a great infielder in Yangervis Solarte? He’s hitting .313/.387/.500 over a not-so-small sample, and it isn’t built on an unsustainably high BABIP (.322). He’s walking (11%) as much as he’s striking out (11%), and each rate is impressive. That said, he’s slugging far more than he ever has before, and that BABIP is actually about 30 points higher than his minor league numbers suggest it should be.

Brian McCann is hitting just .225/.262/.373 this year.


Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.