Game 34: More AL East Dominance

(Brian Blanco/Getty)
(Brian Blanco/Getty)

At 21-12, the Yankees have the very best record in the AL coming into tonight’s game. They’ve gone 16-10 against AL East opponents thanks in large part to the Rays — the Yankees have won six of seven games against Tampa this year, outscoring them 40-18 in the seven games. This brings back memories of the old Devil Rays days, doesn’t it?

Despite that success against the Rays, the Yankees are going to have their hands full tonight with Chris Archer, hands down the best non-Michael Pineda starter in the division at the moment. Archer’s been so good this season that, even after giving up nine runs in 9.1 innings in his last two starts, he still has a 2.59 ERA on the season. They’ll really have to earn a win tonight. Here is Tampa Bay’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. C Brian McCann
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 2B Stephen Drew
  8. 1B Garrett Jones
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

It’s hot, extremely humid, and it’s supposed to pour tonight in St. Petersburg. Very heavy rain in the forecast, so the Tropicana Field roof will be put to work. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch live on YES. Enjoy the game.

Game 33: Time to get CC a win

(Leon Halip/Getty)
(Leon Halip/Getty)

Wins are a terrible way to evaluate a pitcher but that doesn’t make CC Sabathia‘s 0-5 record any less of an eyesore. The Yankees are 1-5 in Sabathia’s six starts and 19-7 whenever anyone else starts this year. Sabathia hasn’t picked up a win since April 24th of last season, nine starts ago. The Yankees are 1-8 in those nine starts since CC’s last personal win. That’s rough, man.

You know that’s wearing on Sabathia, who is fully aware of how poorly he’s pitched the last three years, and you know his teammates are aware of it as well. After all, they bear some responsibility for that 0-5 record. Despite his decline, Sabathia is still the leader of the pitching staff — and the team in general, for that matter — in the clubhouse, so you know everyone wants to get him that first win. Tonight’s a good night to do it, no? The Yankees are playing too well for their erstwhile ace to be 0-5. Here is Tampa Bay’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. RF Carlos Beltran
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. CF Chris Young
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    LHP CC Sabathia

Not a good weather night for baseball in St. Petersburg. It’s hot (low-90s) and grossly humid, and it’s supposed to rain a little later as well. Typical Florida, really. Thank goodness for Tropicana Field’s dome, I guess. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:10pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy the game.

Injury Updates: Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) threw long toss today and made ten pitches on flat ground, including some breaking balls and splitters. He will throw a 30-pitch bullpen session tomorrow, which will be his first time throwing off a mound since landing on the DL two weeks ago … Jacoby Ellsbury is fine, just a routine day off. He’s available off the bench if necessary.

Awards!: What happens when you strike out 16 batters in a game? You win an award, that’s what. Michael Pineda was named the AL Player of the Week today, MLB announced. He’s the second Yankee to be named AL PoW this season — Mark Teixeira won it two weeks ago — and the first Yankees pitcher to win it since Mariano Rivera in September 2011. Congrats, Big Mike.

Game 32: Big Mike on Mother’s Day

BIG MIKE IS HERE

This afternoon will be the Yankees’ last home game for 12 days. They just wrapped up a six-game road trip, came home for this four-game series against the Orioles, and will now head back out on the road for nine more days. Fifteen of 19 games on the road is what this stretch is. Long time to be away from the Bronx.

Anyway, the Yankees have already clinched at least a tie of this series with the O’s, and that’s nice, but dammit I want the series win. The Yankees are playing very well, as well as they have at any point in the last three years, and they just had a stretch of five straight series wins snapped. I want them to get back up on that horse and win this series, especially since their ace is on the mound against a division rival. Here is Baltimore’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Michael Pineda

The weather today is the same as yesterday. Overcast and on the cool side, but there’s no rain in the forecast. This afternoon’s game is set to begin at 1:05pm ET, and you can watch live on YES locally and MLB Network nationally, depending on where you live. Enjoy the game. And happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there.

Injury Update: Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) played catch again today, this time from 90 and 120 feet. Everything is going well and he is reporting no issues.

Game 31: Steal A Win

(Elsa/Getty)
(Elsa/Getty)

On paper, this looks like a game the Yankees will have a very tough time winning. First of all, Chase Whitley is starting, and while he was phenomenal last time out and very good in his two starts overall, I’m not sure anyone is truly comfortable expecting Whitley to take the ball deep into the game and pitch well given his fade last year. Maybe it’s just me.

Secondly, the bullpen is taxed. Check out our Bullpen Workload page for details. Andrew Miller, Dellin Betances, and Justin Wilson have all pitched three days in a row, and Joe Girardi hates asking his guys to pitch three straight days, especially this early in the season. Furthermore, Esmil Rogers has warmed up in each of the last two games after pitching Wednesday. His arm is not exactly fresh. This is a game the Yankees shouldn’t win on paper, but they’ve already won a lot of those types of games this season. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. RF Chris Young
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. DH Carlos Beltran
  6. 2B Jose Pirela
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Stephen Drew
  9. C John Ryan Murphy
    RHP Chase Whitley

The weather is kinda yucky in New York today. I was disappointed to not see the sun when I went out for breakfast this morning. It’s cloudy and gray out, but there is no rain in the forecast, so that’s good. Not the prettiest day for baseball. It happens. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Late Roster Move: Branden Pinder is with the Yankees, according to Meredith Marakovits. Chris Martin has been send down to clear a roster spot placed on the 15-day DL. No word on the injury yet.

Game 30: Hit the Split

There's the grip. (Presswire)
There’s the grip. (Presswire)

Three weeks ago Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez dominated the Yankees, allowing one run in seven innings and striking out a career-high ten. He did it mostly with his splitter-changeup hybrid, getting 17 swings and misses, the second highest total of his career. The Yankees had no chance against his split-change that night — Gonzalez threw 27 of them, the Yankees swung at 20, and missed ten times. Yikes.

Tonight’s challenge will be to hit that splitter-changeup thing. Joe Girardi swapped out Stephen Drew for Jose Pirela in the lineup, which should help — Gonzalez throws the split-change roughly three times as often to lefties than righties. Plus, you know, pretty good chance Pirela is a flat out better hitter than Drew at this point of his career. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Jose Pirela
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Adam Warren

Another gorgeous day in New York and a perfect night for baseball. More weather like this, please. Tonight’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET and can be seen on YES locally and MLB Network nationally, depending on where you live. Enjoy the game, folks.

Injury Update: Masahiro Tanaka (wrist, forearm) played catch for the second straight day, this time making 60 throws at 90 feet after making 50 at 60 yesterday. Everything went well. Tanaka will take tomorrow off and throw again Sunday.

Game 29: Home For The Weekend

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Get a good look at Yankee Stadium this weekend. We’re not going to see it for a while. The Yankees are in the middle of a stretch in which they will only play four of 19 games at home. They just wrapped up a six-game road trip and will head out on another ten-game trip early next week. The NYCFC guys are going to have the Stadium all to themselves this month.

Anyway, the Yankees are opening a four-game series with the Orioles tonight. Their five-series winning streak was snapped yesterday, but that was bound to happen at some point. Time to start a new streak tonight against yet another division rival. Did you know the Yankees have played the toughest schedule in MLB to date based on the numbers crunchers at FanGraphs? It’s true. That makes their 17-11 record even more impressive. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. 2B Stephen Drew
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

The weather in New York is just perfect. Bright blue sky with temperatures in the upper-70s and very little humidity. Just perfect. It’ll be just as pleasant tonight. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and, depending on where you live, MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Game 28: Chance To Win Another Series

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The Yankees and Blue Jays have split the first two games of this series at Rogers Centre — the Yankees aren’t fans of the new turf, by the way — so tonight’s rubber game will determine the series winner. New York has won each of their last five series and they haven’t won six straight since the middle of the 2011 season, when they won seven straight. Would be nice to get over that hump, no?

Tonight’s pitching matchup would have been great about five years ago: CC Sabathia vs. Mark Buehrle. Now they’re both in the latter phases of their careers trying to figure out how to pitch with reduced stuff. (Yes, even Buehrle’s trying to learn how to pitch with lost velocity even though he had little to begin win.) The Yankees have historically owned Buehrle but I don’t really think that means much. This Yankees team is different than last year’s and the all the other ones before it. Here is Toronto’s lineup and here is New York’s lineup:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Chris Young
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. RF Carlos Beltran
  7. 3B Chase Headley
  8. SS Stephen Drew
  9. 2B Jose Pirela
    LHP CC Sabathia

It’s been a real nice day in Toronto, with a clear sky and temperatures in the 70s. I’m guessing the roof will be open tonight. First pitch for tonight’s game is scheduled for 7:07pm ET. You can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Injury Update: Brett Gardner is out with a stiff neck, Joe Girardi told reporters this afternoon. He hurt himself on a head-first slide last night. Seems like it’s only a day-to-day thing, thankfully.

Roster Move: As you can tell from the lineup, Pirela (concussion) has been activated off the DL. Gregorio Petit was placed on the 15-day DL with a right hand contusion in a corresponding move, the Yankees announced. Petit took a pitch to the hand last night and the various reporters say it was pretty swollen today. Timing worked out well.