With CC Sabathia and Bartolo Colon set to take the mound, runs could be at a premium as the Yankees and A's kick off a three-game series on Tuesday night.
New York and Oakland are both within striking distance of first place in their respective divisions, making Tuesday's pitchers' duel at O.co Coliseum all the more interesting.
Sabathia delivered a vintage performance his last time out, striking out nine in a complete-game victory over the Indians on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. His pitching line wasn't flawless, as he allowed four runs on seven hits, but it was exactly what the Yankees needed from their ace. It's also what they've come to expect from the big lefty.
"He looked real good. He had no-hit stuff," outfielder Brett Gardner said. "He looked really good. The final line, he gave up four runs, but I thought he pitched great."
Colon has been untouchable lately, posting a 0.90 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in 30 innings of work over his last four starts. He's issued only six walks in 77 1/3 innings this season, two of which came in his last start against the Brewers on Wednesday. Still, he held Milwaukee to just one run over seven innings, scattering eight hits while striking out four.
The veteran right-hander was even better his previous time out, allowing only five hits as he shut out the White Sox. He lost to the Yankees earlier this season, giving up three runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings on May 4.
That start came in New York right in the middle of the only rough patch Colon has experienced this season. He's clearly proven what he's capable of since then.
"Sometimes against teams that are really aggressive, you almost want to tell him, 'Hey, you could throw a ball every now and then,'" manager Bob Melvin said Wednesday. "But there's so much movement on his ball that even aggressive swingers, when they start their swing path, the ball moves so much that even when they're aggressive and swinging at strikes, it's not on the barrel off the bat."
Yankees: Youk hopes to get back in lineup
A day after sliding into first base to make a play on defense, Kevin Youkilis sat out of Sunday's series finale in Seattle due to stiffness in his lower back. Manager Joe Girardi was hopeful that Youkilis would be ready to play Tuesday in Oakland if he took off Sunday and got to rest more on Monday's off-day.
"My hope is after playing five days in a row, the next time he'll be able to play six," Girardi said. "We've got a couple of six-day stretches that hopefully we can run him out there every day."
• Robinson Cano went 0-for-3 and was hit by a pitch Sunday, putting him at 4-for-33 in 10 games dating back to May 31. Girardi said he hasn't seen anything different with Cano, just that he's "going through a little bit of a time when he's struggling."
"It just means that he's going to get hot again," Girardi added. "That's what it means to me, and I'm looking forward to that because it means that it's fun to watch."
A's: Scuffling Young returns
After sitting out Saturday with a stomach illness, Chris Young returned to Oakland's lineup Sunday. But his season-long slump didn't end, as he went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a walk, lowering his average to .174. The outfielder is adjusting to his new part-time role with the A's, and Melvin attributed his struggles at the plate to that more than anything else.
"He's had a little bit of a tougher transition," Melvin said. "This is different than anything he's had to do before, but he continues to work, and we're all optimistic that his talent level is going to take over and he's going to put up the type of numbers he has in the past."
• Oakland acquired Minor League third baseman Vinnie Catricala from the Mariners on Sunday in exchange for a player to be named or cash. Catricala, 24, is expected to report to Double-A Midland.
• Vernon Wells hoped Saturday's multi-hit performance, his first since May 13, would jump-start him into another hot streak. If it did, the results didn't show up immediately, as the Yankee went 0-for-2 on Sunday.
• On Sunday, the A's wrapped up a 17-game stretch without an off-day. They went 13-4 during that stretch and have won 18 of their last 23 games.