Yanks aim to celebrate CC’s birthday with a sweep
The Yankees will try to complete a four-game sweep of the Orioles this afternoon behind birthday boy CC Sabathia, who is turning 36 and has not allowed a run in 12 innings against Baltimore this season. Chris Tillman has the ball for the O’s.
Yankees pitchers have allowed one run or fewer in four consecutive games for the first time since Sept. 18-21, 2003, with Michael Pineda’s six strong scoreless innings last night following good starts by Masahiro Tanaka, Ivan Nova and Nathan Eovaldi.
“I think they want to try to outdo each other. We saw it before,” manager Joe Girardi said. “They got on a roll for two weeks and we made up a lot of ground. We got back to .500, and they seem to compete against each other. Each guy wanted to outdo the other. I’m sure CC is up to that challenge and looking forward to it.”
Sabathia is looking to turn around a five-start stretch that has seen him go 0-3 with a 7.94 ERA, permitting a .320 opponents’ batting average. Prior to June 22, Sabathia had enjoyed a seven-outing run as the best pitcher in the Major Leagues, holding opponents to a 0.71 ERA over that span — including two starts against the O’s.
Last night’s Orioles loss, combined with a Red Sox victory, knocked Baltimore out of first place in the American League East for the first time since June 4. The Yankees (48-46) are six games off the pace in the division and trail the Orioles by five games in the Wild Card chase.
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“NOW BATTING FOR THE YANKEES”
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 21, 2016
The Yankees made a roster move prior to today’s game, recalling right-hander Chad Green from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre while optioning right-hander Nick Goody to Triple-A. Girardi said that the Yankees felt they needed a reliever who could give them distance today, as Goody, Dellin Betances and Anthony Swarzak were all considered unavailable.
Should Green not be needed against Baltimore, Girardi said it is possible that the Yankees will name him as a spot starter tomorrow against the Giants, which would provide Tanaka with an additional day of rest. Green was scratched from his start at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with an eye toward that flexibility.
“Just if we were going to need some distance,” Girardi said. “We understand that, in a sense, that our starters don’t really give us seven, eight or nine innings. We just don’t get it. So he’s been a guy who’s been pitching well. There were different ways that we could use him, so we just thought, let’s just kind of hold back here a little bit.”
Chase Headley is out of the lineup for a second consecutive game after receiving an excused absence yesterday for personal issues. There are no further details being provided, but Girardi said that he expects Headley to report to Yankee Stadium at some point today.
THEY SAID IT
“We’ve got to be thinking one game at a time. Honestly, [a four-game sweep] would be great. I know that they’ve got a good pitcher for them. We’ve got CC for ourselves. We’re happy where we’re at in this position.” – Carlos Beltran
Sabathia is the first Yankee to start on his birthday since Chris Capuano on Aug. 19, 2014 vs. the Astros. Since 2002, he and Capuano are the only Yankees to start on their birthdays. Sabathia also started on his birthday in 2011 and 2013.
ON THIS DATE
July 21, 1961: Trailing the Red Sox 8-6 at Fenway Park, the Yankees rally for four runs in the top of the ninth inning as Johnny Blanchard hits a pinch-hit grand slam that holds up as the game winner.