Game 2: Yankees at Rays

April 7, 2012, 7:10 p.m. ET, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.
TV / Radio: YES, MLB Network, WCBS 880 AM

This could be the Yankees’ lineup against left-handed pitching this year, as Joe Girardi gives a healthy nod to Nick Swisher’s on-base percentage against southpaws. Curtis Granderson drops to sixth in the lineup, which will also include Eduardo Nunez at shortstop as Derek Jeter takes a half-day at DH.

“Swish has had so much success if you look over the last two years against left-handed pitching, getting on base,” Girardi said. “Grandy had a great year against left-handers as well but Swish has probably been on base against lefties more than any player that we have. I thought about flip-flopping them. Grandy has been extremely productive against left-handers so if we get some guys on, maybe Grandy pops one.”

Girardi is concerned about playing Jeter and Alex Rodriguez too much on the artificial turf; Rodriguez might get a full day off for Sunday’s afternoon game. It doesn’t hurt that the Yankees want to see more at-bats out of Nunez, either.

“We just talked about (against) lefties, I’m probably going to DH Alex or Jeet a substantial amount of time,” Girardi said. “This turf can be rough on these guys, especially early on in the season. It’s a way to get Nuney in before a month like last year. I just think it worked out well and we’ve got a day game tomorrow.”

This will mark Hiroki Kuroda’s Yankees debut, and Girardi said he is looking forward to seeing how it goes.

“Obviously this is a good-hitting fastball club, and he’s got three or four other weapons he can go to besides his fastball,” Girardi said. “Being ahead in the count is important and using his split and trying to expand with it is important as well.”

YANKEES (0-1)
Derek Jeter DH
Nick Swisher RF
Robinson Cano 2B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Mark Teixeira 1B
Curtis Granderson CF
Andruw Jones LF
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez SS

Pitching: Hiroki Kuroda RHP (13-16, 3.07 ERA last year)

RAYS (1-0)
Desmond Jennings CF
Carlos Pena RF
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce LF
Ben Zobrist RF
Luke Scott DH
Jeff Keppinger 2B
Jose Lobaton C
Reid Brignac SS

Pitching: David Price LHP (12-13, 3.49 ERA last year)

  • FOUR “I”s IN TEAM: With his appearance in Friday’s season opener, DH/OF Raul Ibanez became just the fourth player to appear in a game in Yankees franchise history whose last name began with the letter “I”… he joins RHP Hideki Irabu (1997-99), OF Pete Incaviglia (1997) and LHP Kei Igawa (2007-08).
  • THE MORE THINGS CHANGE: The Yankees have started the same infielders (Teixeira, Cano, Jeter, Rodriguez) and outfielders (Gardner, Granderson, Swisher) on Opening Day for the last three consecutive seasons (2010-12)… according to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marks the first time a Major League team has done that since the Baltimore Orioles from 1979-81 (INFs: Murray, Dauer, Belanger, DeCinces; OFs: YES Network broadcaster Ken Singleton, Bumbry, G. Roenicke).
  • LEGENDS JOINED: With their Opening Day appearances on Friday, SS Derek Jeter and RHP Mariano Rivera tied Yogi Berra and Mickey Mantle for the most seasons played (18) in Yankees franchise history.

6 Comments

Boy they work the shift on Tex perfectly. Tex has to learn to hit the ball to the opposite field instead of pulling the ball all the time with the shift on. Runners on 2nd and 3rd and can’t bring them home. It happened so often last year. This Yankee team has to really go back to the drawing board and start straightening out some of its weak areas. I know it’s early in the season but you want to get off to a strong start if you hope to win the division and the world series. Everyone says that the Yankees are the strong favorite to win the AL East. Well, I’m not so sure.

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Amazed at why this team always starts notoriously slow. If memory serves me right it was the same under Torre. Like they are disinterested. I agree with yu robert G the competition in the AL EAST will come from the Rays & Jays this year. The bats need to get going.

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It feels like another loss. Kuroda did not do well and he’s supposed to be our #2 starter. Well, CC didn’t do very well last night. The Rays are a good hitting ball club and they have excellent starting pitching as well. They’re going to be tough this year. So are the Blue Jays. This seems to be a pattern of many of the spring training games. Too few hits and runs and shaky starting pitching. The Yankees better not dig themselves too deep a hole early in the season or they’re going to find it difficult to keep up.

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About to get to the end of my rope with Nunez. Can this guy Field at all. WAY TOOO MANY ERRORS last season and now the start of this season. Tex is also off to his typical SLOWWWWW start. Someone (#28) needs to wake this team up.

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Kuroda certainly doesn’t have the fast ball of Price. The Rays are getting on the first pitch and swinging early before Kuroda can throw his split finger pitch and it’s working. Kuroda hasn’t thrown many split finger pitchers which his bread and butter. One wonders how he’s going to make out in the AL with so many big hitters. He’s kept the Rays to 4 runs and the Yankees need to get their bats going. Now it’s 5 runs. Don’t want to go down 0-2 even if it is early in the season. Rays and Jays getting a strong start. Grandy is having a very slow start and Cano not doing much against left handed pitching. Another error from Nunez that led to a couple of runs. He is not reliable defensively. The Yankees are really playing in the regular season like they did in spring training.

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4 runs down again today – Kuroda sounds like he’s taken all the scare stories of the AL East in like a sponge.

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