Game 8: Yankees at Orioles

CC SabathiaGood evening from Camden Yards in Baltimore, where the Yankees will go for their third straight victory as they play the middle game of three with the Orioles. Left-hander CC Sabathia (0-1, 6.35) makes his second start of the year for the Yankees, with right-hander Miguel Gonzalez (0-1, 1.59) on the hill for the O’s. The weather is overcast, cool and wet, but we should play.

This has been a tough office to work in for Sabathia, who pitched better than his line indicated on April 9. Since the start of 2012, Sabathia is 2-4 with a 5.13 ERA (52.2 IP, 30 ER) in eight starts against the Orioles, and he is winless at Camden Yards over that span.

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

  • Brett Gardner is unlikely to be in the lineup until Friday, as he is resting his sore right wrist. The Yankees may be able to use him as a pinch-runner or to play defense, but Gardner said that he probably can’t swing a bat.
  • Alex Rodriguez gets his first night off of the season, having played the field last night. Surely there is temptation to keep A-Rod going, as he has exceeded expectations in the season’s first week, but there’s a long road ahead and the Yanks are trying to be mindful of that.
  • Andrew Miller has two saves and Dellin Betances has none, but the Yankees still say they are operating without a set closer. In fact, with Miller having recorded five outs last night, it’s possible the call would go to Betances tonight in a save situation.
  • No roster move today! Joel De La Cruz didn’t pitch and thus gets to hang around for a second day, which is more than you could say for Matt Tracy and Kyle Davies. Those two names could be a real problem on an end-of-season Sporcle quiz.
  • Girardi on Mark Teixeira: “His at-bats have been good, He’s productive, he’s stayed in the strike zone, he’s hit some home runs, when we need a run driven in he’s provided it. That’s why he’s there.”
  • Girardi on Carlos Beltran: “It’s been somewhat of a struggle so far. It’s not a lot of at-bats. There’s a lot of hitters that are in the position that he’s in going into the second week of the season. You don’t make too much of it. Obviously we know he’s a much better hitter than he’s shown.”
  • Today marks the 60th anniversary of Elston Howard becoming the Yankees’ first African-America player.

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (3-4)
Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Chase Headley 3b
Carlos Beltran rf
Mark Teixeira 1b
Brian McCann c
Garrett Jones dh
Chris Young lf
Stephen Drew 2b
Didi Gregorius ss

CC Sabathia lhp

ORIOLES (3-4)
Everth Cabrera ss
Manny Machado 3b
Adam Jones cf
Steve Pearce 1b
Delmon Young rf
Chris Davis dh
Jonathan Schoop 2b
Caleb Joseph c
Alejandro De Aza lf

Miguel Gonzalez rhp

Game 7: Yankees at Orioles

Michael PinedaHello from Oriole Park at Camden Yards, where the Yankees open a three-game series against the Orioles tonight. This kicks off a stretch that sees the Yankees play 15 of their next 25 games away from the Bronx, and they’ll look to keep the good vibes rolling from last night’s 14-4 pounding of the Red Sox by handing the ball to right-hander Michael Pineda.

“You watch him, he competes,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He’s able to get the big strikeout when he needs it. He keeps his pitch count down, he attacks the zone with three pitches, holds the runners. He does a good job.”

The O’s counter with left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, and first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET. The Yanks got to town at about 3 a.m. ET this morning following the Sunday night ESPN game, so those hotel blackout shades surely came in handy.

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

  • A-Rod is playing third base for the first time this season as Joe Girardi wants to give Chase Headley a day off. Headley “could use it” after Friday’s 19-inning game and then coming right back to play another two games, Girardi said. Basically, the Yankees just want A-Rod to catch the balls he can get to, but they understand that they’re losing some range in that swap.
  • The crowd reaction was largely positive for A-Rod in New York, but that’s expected to change as the Yankees visit Baltimore, Tampa Bay and Detroit on this trip. It’s expected to be similar to what Rodriguez has heard in past years; he mentioned yesterday that nothing could be more vicious than what he heard after signing the massive $252 million deal with the Rangers.
  • The Yankees lead the Majors with nine errors through six games. Girardi called it “definitely puzzling,” considering this is a team for whom run prevention was supposed to be a strength.
  • Girardi’s reaction to Barry Bonds’ comments, in which he said A-Rod’s 660th homer should be celebrated: “I hope it happens this month. I think we all hope that. I hope he hits, what does he needs, five? I hope he hits six this month. It’d be great.”
  • Another day, another long reliever. Today it’s right-hander Joel De La Cruz, who has been summoned from Double-A Trenton. He replaces right-hander Kyle Davies, who replaced left-hander Matt Tracy, who replaced left-hander Chasen Shreve. That all happened in the last four days.
  • Esmil Rogers could be available tomorrow, but more likely Wednesday.
  • Jose Pirela (concussion) will begin playing in Extended Spring Training games next week. Brendan Ryan (calf strain) could travel with the team to Tampa on Thursday and stay there.

Here are the lineups:

YANKEES (2-4)
Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Carlos Beltran dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Alex Rodriguez 3b
Chris Young rf
John Ryan Murphy c
Didi Gregorius ss
Gregorio Petit 2b

Michael Pineda rhp (0-0, 3.00)

ORIOLES (3-3)
Alejandro De Aza lf
Steve Pearce rf
Chris Davis 1b
Adam Jones cf
Travis Snider dh
Manny Machado 3b
Jonathan Schoop 2b
Everth Cabrera ss
Caleb Joseph c

Wei-Yin Chen lhp (0-0, 6.23)

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

YANKEES (1-4)
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

Game 5: Yankees vs. Red Sox

Pirates Yankees BaseballDerek Jeter’s go-to coffee order, whether he was on his way to Yankee Stadium or wandering around Manhattan, was always a venti ‘Red Eye’ from Starbucks. I bring this up not to shill for free java — though, I mean, if you absolutely insist? — but because the coffee consumption here at the ballpark has skyrocketed following last night’s 19-inning epic with the Red Sox.

That one went into the books as the longest home game in Yankees history at six hours and 49 minutes (not including a 16-minute ‘light delay’ in the 12th inning), and the second-longest game in Yankees history. The only one longer was a seven-hour contest on June 24, 1962 against the Tigers in Detroit, which the Yankees won 9-7 in 22 innings — but, of course, they didn’t have a light delay.

“The one thing about the game is, you get used to being tired, because of the schedule that we keep,” Joe Girardi said. “You get in from cities at 4 o’clock in the morning and play the next day. It’s just part of the game. As much as you don’t want to get used to it, you get used to it.”

Adam Warren will make his first start of the year this afternoon after winning the Yanks’ fifth starter competition in Spring Training. Joe Kelly has been activated from the disabled list and will start for Boston. Alex Rodriguez is making his first career appearance at first base. Here’s what else you need to know from the Yankees’ clubhouse, where I spotted quite a few cans of Red Bull being passed around:

  • Thanks for the 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, Chasen Shreve, but he loses the numbers game and is rewarded with an option to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. “It stinks,” was how Girardi put it, but that’s baseball. The Yankees have signed left-hander Matt Tracy to a big league contract and added him to the active roster.
  • The Yankees weren’t planning to take on-field batting practice anyway today, so the official report time for players was set at 11:30 a.m. Most of the guys got here with time to spare, but there were quite a few bleary eyes in the clubhouse.
  • Alex RodriguezGirardi’s original plan was to give A-Rod today off, but 19 innings of ball changed that. Rodriguez played 11 of those innings, going 2-for-5 as the designated hitter before exiting for a pinch-runner, but he was on his feet a lot less than guys like Mark Teixeira.
  • Warren was sent home in the sixth or seventh inning last night to get his rest. The Yanks also started sending their relievers home after they were out of the game. As it is, Girardi said he doesn’t expect to be able to use Esmil Rogers today and will have to check with David Carpenter.
  • I spoke to Garrett Jones, who would’ve been the Yanks’ next pitcher if the game had gone any further. He said that he hasn’t pitched since 1999, when he was a high school senior, but he was gearing up to face David Ortiz in the 19th inning. Asked for his pitching scouting report, Jones laughed and said, “Straight fastball and a dirty changeup. I might have mixed in a curve to Big Papi.”
  • Brian McCann’s right knee is a little sore after getting clipped with a foul tip last night, but Girardi doesn’t anticipate it being a problem. Catchers are tough, man.

The caffeine is kicking in. Let’s do this. Here are the lineups:

RED SOX (3-1)
Brock Holt cf
Dustin Pedroia 2b
David Ortiz dh
Mike Napoli 1b
Pablo Sandoval 3b
Allen Craig rf
Daniel Nava lf
Xander Bogaerts ss
Ryan Hanigan c

Joe Kelly rhp

YANKEES (1-3)
Brett Gardner lf
Chris Young cf
Carlos Beltran dh
Alex Rodriguez 1b
Chase Headley 3b
Garrett Jones rf
John Ryan Murphy c
Didi Gregorius ss
Gregorio Petit 2b

Adam Warren rhp

Game 4: Yankees vs. Red Sox

Nathan Eovaldi

Hello from Yankee Stadium, where the weather is much more pleasant than it was the last two evenings. We’ll have spring conditions at last, with the Yankees and the Red Sox renewing their rivalry under the lights tonight. Nathan Eovaldi and Wade Miley are on the mound, making their respective debuts for their new clubs.

“They’ve been swinging well. They’ve got good hitters,” Eovaldi said. “It’s just executing your pitches. I mean, you can get any batter out. You got to just execute and not get too predictable. Don’t fall behind in counts and have to rely on your fastball.”

Here are the quick hits of what you need to know from Joe Girardi’s pregame briefing with the media:

  • Alex Rodriguez is batting third tonight because Carlos Beltran is on the bench, and Girardi said again that he has liked the quality of A-Rod’s at-bats. Rodriguez hit career homer No. 655 last night against the Blue Jays is 2-for-9 (.222) through the Yanks’ first three games.
  • A-Rod could get the day off tomorrow. He has DHed in four straight games to open the season. There’s still no set date for him to play the field.
  • Stephen Drew is at shortstop tonight. Girardi said that will continue to be the plan for days that Didi Gregorius doesn’t play until Brendan Ryan returns from the disabled list. Ryan is expected to be out until at least May.
  • One pitch to watch tonight is Eovaldi’s splitter. It’s something he worked on a lot this spring with pitching coach Larry Rothschild, and Eovaldi is likely to show it off. He also talked about wanting to bend a few first-pitch curveballs in, so don’t be surprised by that.
  • The Yanks are 3-for-21 with runners in scoring position through their first three games. “That’s got to change,” Girardi said. “You have to have faith. The big thing is you keep getting the opportunities.”
  • Tonight marks Girardi’s 1,300th game as a big league manager.

Here are the starting lineups:

RED SOX (2-1)
Mookie Betts cf
Dustin Pedroia 2b
David Ortiz dh
Hanley Ramirez lf
Pablo Sandoval 3b
Mike Napoli 1b
Daniel Nava rf
Xander Bogaerts ss
Sandy Leon c

Wade Miley lhp

YANKEES (1-2)
Jacoby Ellsbury cf
Brett Gardner lf
Alex Rodriguez dh
Mark Teixeira 1b
Brian McCann c
Chase Headley 3b
Chris Young rf
Stephen Drew ss
Gregorio Petit 2b

Nathan Eovaldi rhp

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