Yankees-Rockies Series Preview: Bombers Aim to Continue Strong Interleague Play

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Yankees-Rockies Series Preview: Bombers Aim to Continue Strong Interleague Play
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After taking two out of three in Chicago and Cincinnati, the Yankees return home with a sparkling 6-3 record against the National League this season.

Next up is a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies, who enter the series at 37-37, four games behind the D-Backs in the NL West.

Jim Tracy's club features a strong offense led by Troy Tulowitzki (13 HR, 49 RBI), Carlos Gonzalez (45 runs) and Seth Smith (.315 avg, .922 OPS).

But Colorado's rotation ranks just 24th in the majors with 37 quality starts, and the Yankees won't even have to face ace Jhoulys Chacin and his 2.71 ERA.

Let's take a look at the pitching matchups for this weekend at Yankee Stadium.

 

Friday, June 24: A.J. Burnett (7-5, 4.05) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (2-7, 4.68)

Burnett has pitched well over his last two outings, striking out 16 and allowing just three runs in 13 innings.

The right-hander is 17-10 with a 3.68 ERA in 35 career interleague starts and holds a 2-2 record with a 2.40 mark against the Rockies.

Former Yankees cancer Jason Giambi (5-for-23, .217, nine Ks) and Ty Wigginton (8-for-38, .211, eight Ks) struggle against Burnett, but Todd Helton is 4-for-12 with three doubles.

After starting last season 13-1 with a 1.15 ERA, Jimenez has gone 8-14 with a 4.47 over the last 12 months. But most of his recent struggles have come at Coors Field. On the road, he has a 2.06 ERA in five starts this year.

The righty is 5-4 with a 4.41 ERA in 10 lifetime interleague starts but has never faced the Yankees. With other teams, Mark Teixeira is 0-for-8 with four strikeouts against Jimenez, but Russell Martin is 8-for-25 (.320) with seven walks.

 

Saturday, June 25: CC Sabathia (9-4, 3.39) vs. Aaron Cook (0-2, 4.67)

Sabathia has won six of his last seven starts to climb into a tie for the league lead with nine victories. He also ranks third with 114 innings pitched.

The big lefty is 18-7 with a 3.61 ERA in 39 career interleague starts but is 1-1 with a 7.84 mark in five outings against the Rockies.

Giambi is 2-for-15 (.133) off Sabathia, while Helton is 0-for-6 and Wigginton is 12-for-41 (.293).

Cook joined Colorado's rotation on June 8 and since then has put together three mediocre starts.

The lifetime Rockie is 6-9 with a 5.04 ERA in interleague Play but has yet to face the Bombers. Still, he has dealt against five members of their roster and done very well. Andruw Jones is 2-for-12 (.167), and Russell Martin is 1-for-18 (.056), so this will be a perfect day game after a night game to give the catcher a rest.

 

Sunday, June 26: Ivan Nova (7-5, 4.13) vs. Juan Nicasio (2-1, 4.71)

Nova has won his last three starts, pitching the best game of his career on Monday, when he allowed just one run over eight innings in Cincinnati.

The young right-hander has excelled in two interleague starts this season, going 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA, but has struggled at home, racking up a 4.76 mark and 1.63 WHIP over 45.1 innings.

The only player on the Rockies roster to face Nova is Wigginton, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts against Nova for the Orioles last year.

Nicasio was stellar in his big league debut on May 28, yielding just one unearned run over seven innings in a 15-4 win over the Cardinals, but his last start was very poor, as he surrendered six runs on seven hits and two walks through 4.2 innings in Cleveland.

The 24-year-old right-hander has never even pitched at the Triple-A level, but the Yankees often struggle against young hurlers they have never seen before.

 

Follow me on Twitter at @ JordanHarrison.

Jordan is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. 

He can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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