Yanks counting on CC Sabathia to take another step forward
Hello from Tropicana Field, where the Yankees will open a three-game series with the Rays tonight at 7:10 p.m. ET.
CC Sabathia is on the mound for the Yankees; Erasmo Ramirez is getting the starting nod for Tampa Bay.
The Yankees have won eight of their last 10 road games, and have won four of seven games this year at Tropicana Field. The Rays have lost 12 of their last 19 games.
Playoff picture: The Yankees (78-64) trail the Blue Jays (82-61) by 3 1/2 games in the American League East. Toronto has the night off. The Yankees lead the Rangers (75-67) by three games for the first Wild Card spot. Baseball Prospectus has the Yankees with a 96.6 percent chance of making the postseason, but just a 8.8 percent chance of winning the division.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) September 14, 2015
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) September 14, 2015
Joe Girardi said that he expects about 100 pitches tonight from Sabathia, who is coming off 4 2/3 innings of three-run (one earned), four hit ball vs. the Orioles in his return from the disabled list. Girardi said that he thought Sabathia’s changeup and slider seemed effective against Baltimore, and he showed decent location with his fastball. They’ll be looking for him to keep that consistency going tonight. Sabathia is once again wearing a brace on his right knee.
Adam Warren is listed as tomorrow’s probable starter. There’s a chance that he could be used tonight in an emergency, and if that were to happen, the Yankees would roll with a bullpen game. Warren is expected to throw about 65 pitches tomorrow if he does start. Luis Severino is a definite to start on Wednesday.
Jacoby Ellsbury is hitless in his last 17 at-bats and has one hit in his last 25. Girardi said that Ellsbury “feels pretty good, he’s been just a little bit off. He’s doing everything he can to get back on track.” Girardi also said there is no temptation to dislodge Ellsbury from the leadoff spot.
MLB Network’s three to watch
Evan Longoria is slashing .393/.507/.820 (24-for-61) with six homers against Sabathia; his 75 plate appearances against Sabathia are his most against any pitcher in his career.
Logan Forsythe is hitting .299/.373/.625 against left-handed pitching this season. He ranks third in the AL in slugging percentage against southpaws behind Josh Donaldson and Nelson Cruz (minimum 100 plate appearances).
Carlos Beltran is hitting .310 (9-for-29) during a seven-game hitting streak, and is slashing .305/.377/.527 since the All-Star break.
On this date
Sept. 14, 1999: The Yankees defeat the Blue Jays, 10-6, at SkyDome. Bernie Williams’ eighth-inning grand slam ties the game and Paul O’Neill’s grand slam in the ninth puts the Yanks ahead.
Quote to note
Girardi’s explanation for why Rob Refsnyder hasn’t seen the field yet this month:
“The one thing is, he spent the whole year in Triple-A. He doesn’t know the pitching staffs up here. If he would have been up playing the last two months, it probably would have been different. But he wasn’t, so we’re sticking with the guys that have been here and played at this level and have a better understanding of what people are doing to them.“