Game 6: Yankees vs. Red Sox

Masahiro TanakaThe Yankees wrap up their season-opening homestand tonight as Masahiro Tanaka takes the mound for his second start of the year. Clay Buchholz is on the hill for the Red Sox, who are trying to sweep the Yankees in the Bronx for the first time since 2011. The Yankees come into the evening having led in just one of their 55 innings this year, a quite alarming statistic indeed.

“I think it’s an important game,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You don’t want to start the season 1-5, be 1-5 on your home field where your club is supposed to be built around, and 1-5 in your division. You don’t want those things. It’s really important. I don’t know if after 162 games you’ll look back and say, this is the most important game of the year, but I think it’s important.”

Here’s what you need to know from the Yankees’ clubhouse:

  • Here yesterday, gone today. Matt Tracy was DFAed to make room for Kyle Davies.

    Here yesterday, gone today. Matt Tracy was DFAed to make room for Kyle Davies.

    The Yankees made a roster move this afternoon, summoning right-hander Kyle Davies from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Davies, 31, hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2011, when he was with the Royals. He’ll serve as the long man while he’s here. Left-hander Matt Tracy, who made his big league debut yesterday, was designated for assignment.

  • There will be plenty of attention on Tanaka’s radar gun readings, but it’s worth noting again that his average fastball speed was 90.3 mph on Opening Day, while he topped out at 93 mph. That represents only a slight drop-off for Tanaka, whose average fastball velocity was 90.8 mph in 2014. More notable is that he threw just 27 fastballs of his 82 pitches. He’s ready to approach 100 pitches tonight.
  • Girardi on what to watch for from Tanaka: “I think the key is strikes with his offspeed, and using his fastball effectively. That’s the key with him, and that’s been the key since he’s been here. That’s what you look for.”
  • Several of the Yankees were out early this afternoon working on bunt drills. Didi Gregorius seemed to be especially active, and Girardi said that there are certain times where they’d like to bunt against the shift. Couldn’t hurt; the Yanks are hitting .193 as a team through five games.
  • The Yanks need to clean up their act defensively. They lead the Majors with eight errors through five games, including three yesterday vs. Boston.
  • Mike Napoli homered off Tanaka twice in six at-bats last year — including the “What an idiot!” homer here, which I suspect is one of the reasons Tanaka wanted to shelve his four-seamer — but Napoli is hitless in 17 at-bats to start the season.
  • After tonight, the Yankees play 25 of their next 35 games on the road. That’s a good reminder to pack my suitcase. Good thing we did the laundry this morning.

Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (4-1)
Mookie Betts cf
Dustin Pedroia 2b
David Ortiz dh
Hanley Ramirez lf
Pablo Sandoval 3b
Mike Napoli 1b
Shane Victorino rf
Xander Bogaerts ss
Ryan Hanigan c

Clay Buchholz rhp

Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Carlos Beltran rf
Mark Teixeira 1b
Brian McCann c
Alex Rodriguez dh
Chase Headley 3b
Stephen Drew 2b
Didi Gregorius ss

Masahiro Tanaka rhp

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