Solid starting pitching has paced the New York Yankees' longest winning stretch of the young season.
Looking to continue that trend, the visiting Yankees hope Masahiro Tanaka can end his current rough patch and help them earn a fourth consecutive victory Saturday against the Oakland Athletics.
Over the past three contests, Nathan Eovaldi, Ivan Nova and CC Sabathia each allowed one run over six innings and a combined eight hits. Fresh off the disabled list, Sabathia become the eighth player in the modern era to win 100 games or more with two teams Friday in the 8-3 victory over Oakland (19-24).
Tanaka (1-0, 3.51 ERA) allowed 10 earned runs over 39 1/3 innings of his first six starts, but he's equaled that total through 12 innings of the last two. Four of those runs came along with eight hits and three hits in five innings of Sunday's 7-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
“(Throwing) 102 pitches in five innings, that's not efficient,” Tanaka said after his last outing. “I think it comes down to mechanics.”
The right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA against the A's, but this will be his first time pitching in Oakland.
With three doubles and three RBIs on Friday, Carlos Beltran is 5 for 10 with six RBIs in the first two of this set.
Winners in 10 of 15, the Yankees (19-22) get their first look at Sean Manaea (1-1, 7.91).
The left-hander allowed 16 runs, 21 hits and four homers over 12 2/3-plus innings of his first three career starts this season, but gave up one and four hits in 6 2/3 of Monday's 3-1 win over Texas. Manaea gave partial credit for that successful outing to cutting his thick, black, curly hair.
''First three starts didn't go as well as I wanted to, and as a team we were kind of struggling,'' Manaea said. ''I just felt like it was time for a change.”
It appears Manaea won't have to face the underachieving Alex Rodriguez, who likely won't come off the disabled from a strained right hamstring until next week.
“There's the old theory that if a guy feels good, you wait an extra day just to make sure,” manager Joe Girardi told MLB's official website. “Then you have to decide, we're off Monday, so does it make sense to give him a couple extra days just to make sure? Let's just see how he comes out (Saturday).”
Oakland placed outfielder Josh Reddick on the DL after he fractured his thumb Thursday. Expected to miss at least four weeks, Reddick was batting .322 with five home runs and 18 RBIs .
“It's unfortunate,” said Jake Smolinski, who was called up from the minors to help fill the void but went 0 for 4 on Friday. “We're pulling for a speedy recovery for Josh and we want him back, but we have to keep moving forward.”
The A's averaged 6.5 runs during a four-game winning streak leading into this series, but have managed four runs and 12 hits in the past two games.
After going 1 for 14 with six strikeouts in the previous three games, Oakland's Billy Burns delivered a pinch-hit homer Friday.