Yankees go for sweep amid Wild Card push on MLB.TV
Porcello seeks 12th win at Fenway; Sale takes the hill for White Sox
By Chad Thornburg
The Yankees got younger Saturday as prospects Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge burst onto the scene by homering in their first big league at-bats, one day after the organization celebrated 22-year veteran Alex Rodriguez's final game. Despite being major sellers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline earlier this month and their recent youth movement, the Yankees remain within striking distance of a playoff spot.
New York has won four consecutive games and is making a push amid a crowded American League Wild Card field. The Yankees will look to climb in the standings and make it five wins in a row when they go for three-game sweep of the Rays today in the Bronx.
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Here's what to watch for throughout the day (all times in ET):
Odorizzi looks to slow streaking Yankees: TB@NYY, 1:05 p.m.
The Rays will look to right-hander Jake Odorizzi to halt the Yankees winning streak in today's finale. Odorizzi's performance has dramatically improved in the second half; he's posted a 1.13 ERA since the All-Star break, lowering his season ERA from 4.47 to 3.69. Odorizzi credits rediscovering his splitter for his renewed success.
"It's a difference-maker, really," Odorizzi said. "Hopefully it stays [in working order] until the end of the year."
Luis Severino will start for the Yankees, returning to the rotation to fill in for the injured Nathan Eovaldi. Severino, who was recalled from Triple-A on Friday, is 1-7 with a 6.42 ERA in 11 appearances (eight starts) in the Majors this season.
Stat that matters: Yankees rookies Austin and Judge made an immediate impact with back-to-back home runs in their first trips to the plate Saturday. They're the first teammates ever to homer in their first Major League at-bats in the same game.
Sale takes on red-hot Koeher: CWS@MIA, 1:10 p.m.
Sale will take the mound at Marlins Park today in search of his first win in more than a month. The Chicago ace hasn't earned a winning decision since July 2, despite limiting his opponent to three runs or fewer in four of five starts in that span. This will be Sale's first career appearance against the Marlins.
Miami will counter with right-hander Tom Koehler, who's been the club's best pitcher of late. Koehler has allowed just two earned runs over his last four starts (27 innings) for a 0.67 ERA. He's gone at least six frames in each of those outings.
"I know what we're trying to do here, and I want to be a part of something special," Koehler said. "I think this is a special group. I'm just trying to do everything I can to be a part of of that."
Stat that matters: Sale has traditionally performed well in Interleague matchups. He's 6-2 with a 2.54 ERA and a .200 opponents' batting average in 21 career games (13 starts) against the National League.
Porcello tries for 12th Fenway win: ARI@BOS, 1:35 p.m.
Porcello has been at his best when pitching from the comforts of home this season. The Boston righty is 11-0 with a 3.12 ERA through 12 starts at Fenway Park. He'll try to extend that record to 12-0 when his Red Sox take on the D-backs in today's series finale. Porcello is coming off his 100th career win in which he became the fourth active pitcher to reach the century mark prior to his 28th birthday, joining Clayton Kershaw, Felix Hernandez and CC Sabathia.
For Arizona, Greinke will get the start. He came off the disabled list Tuesday to beat the Mets. After six weeks on the mend with a strained left oblique, Greinke picked up right where he left off by winning his eighth straight decision. He owns a 2.78 ERA over his last 12 outings after an inconsistent start to the year.
"It just gets guys invigorated," D-backs manager Chip Hale said of Greinke's return. "They know he's out there, he's going to give us a quality start pretty much every time he goes out there, so guys are excited to play behind him."
Stat that matters: Porcello has pitched at least five innings in 31 consecutive starts, dating back nearly a year to Aug. 26, 2015. His run of 20 straight starts of at least six innings is the longest active streak in the Majors.
Anderson makes 2016 debut: PIT@LAD, 4:10 p.m. Brett Anderson returns to the mound for the Dodgers today after missing five months due to March back surgery. Anderson last pitched at the big league level in last year's NL Division Series against the Mets. The left-hander made three rehab starts with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga and Triple-A Oklahoma City, working up to 71 pitches and five innings in his final start.
"I'm excited for Brett," Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "It's been a long road for him. To get him back, it's obviously a good thing for us."
Pittsburgh will counter with rookie Chad Kuhl, who's making his sixth big league start of 2016. The right-hander beat Kershaw and the Dodgers in his MLB debut on June 26 at PNC Park.
Stat that matters: After a day off Saturday, David Freese is likely to be back in the Pirates lineup for this matchup with Anderson. Freese is hitting .352/.423/.620 against lefties this year.
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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.