Major League Baseball
Athletics-Yankees Preview
Major League Baseball

Athletics-Yankees Preview

Updated Mar. 5, 2020 1:46 a.m. ET

The first two starters for the Oakland Athletics in this three-game series entered it with 10 career wins, although that didn't prevent them from helping stifle the stumbling New York Yankees.

With that in mind, there's no reason to think a pitcher with six victories over the last seven seasons can't do something similar.

Rich Hill is next in line for the Athletics on Thursday night when they seek to complete their first sweep in the Bronx in 10 years.

Oakland (8-7) sent Eric Surkamp and Kendall Graveman to the mound in the first two games and is now within its first sweep at the current Yankee Stadium, having last swept a series in the Bronx from June 9-11, 2006.


Those unheralded pitchers were good enough to help the Athletics limit the Yankees (5-8) to two runs in each of the first two games. New York has totaled 15 runs while batting .209 in losing six of seven after Wednesday's 5-2 defeat.

Jacoby Ellsbury is mired in a 2-for-18 slump, Brian McCann a 1-for-18 slide and Mark Teixeira a 1-for-15 rut while also going 0 for 8 against left-handers. Alex Rodriguez is batting .163 and Chase Headley has a .182 average.

''We have to focus on doing the little things. Every at-bat is life or death. Got to relax, get a good pitch to hit and hit it,'' Rodriguez said.

The Yankees batted .372 with runners in scoring position in their first five games but are hitting .074 in their last eight.

That's what Hill (1-2, 4.15 ERA) will be up against as he looks to provide length after failing to get through the fifth inning in two of three starts. He yielded three runs in 4 1/3 innings in Friday's 4-2 defeat at Kansas City.

The left-hander pitched for the Yankees in 2014 and started against them with Boston on Oct. 1, giving up two runs in six innings in a 4-1 defeat. McCann has the most experience among New York hitters against Hill, going 1 for 9.

Both teams have regulars who are hurting.

Brett Gardner, one of the few Yankees hitting well with a .308 average, was scratched from Wednesday's lineup with a stiff neck. He was replaced in left field by switch-hitter Aaron Hicks, who batted ninth and went 0 for 3 as his average dropped to .050.

Hicks had a role in the injury to Oakland third baseman Danny Valencia, who strained his left hamstring when he was thrown out at the plate on the outfielder's rocket throw from medium-deep left field. Manager Bob Melvin said Valencia won't play in this contest.

''Felt it when I popped up after the slide,'' Valencia said. ''He has to make a perfect throw - almost unheard of throw - to get me there and he did.''

The Yankees will start Luis Severino (0-2, 5.91), who has allowed opponents to bat .383 in his first two outings. He gave up four runs in 5 2/3 innings in Friday's 7-1 defeat to Seattle.

The right-hander has never faced Oakland or any of its hitters.

The A's have taken 20 of the last 28 meetings.


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