Game Two: Big Mike and the Blue Jays

BIG MIKE IS HERE

Okay, now the 2015 season is really ready to begin. Opening Day and the annoying yet necessary post-Opening Day off-day is over. Now baseball’s back for real. The Yankees resume their series against the Blue Jays tonight and will play again tomorrow night. And then again the night after that. And then again after that. The day-to-day grind is back.

The Yankees dropped their season-opener Monday is sorta lethargic fashion. Toronto jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third inning and took the wind out of the Yankee Stadium sails. Three measly hits on offense didn’t help either. That’s just one game though. Tonight’s an opportunity to put that in past and get that first win of 2015. The Yankees have the right guy on the mound too, arguably their best pitcher in Michael Pineda. Here is the Blue Jays’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

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

It has not been a pretty day in New York. It’s cold, cloudy, and rainy. Has been since yesterday. The forecast says there is only a small chance of rain tonight, 10% or so, but temperatures will be in the low-40s and there will be plenty of wind gusts. Not the best baseball weather, but that’s life. This evening’s game will begin at 7:05pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Game One: Opening Day

2015 Opening Day-001

It has been 190 days since the Yankees last played a regular season game. It’s been 194 days since they last played a regular season game that meant something. The long offseason and Spring Training are finally over, thankfully. The Yankees are back in the Bronx and play the first of 162 regular season games this afternoon.

The Yankees changed their roster quite a bit over those 190 days, most notably rebuilding the infield and bullpen. There were no major free agent splashes like last winter. Instead, the team focused on smaller moves and a lot of incremental upgrades that, on paper, significantly improved the overall team defense, which was a clear weakness a year ago. The focus is on run prevention now, which is an unfamiliar feeling.

This is also the first game of the post-Derek Jeter era. The Cap’n retired following last season and while he will be missed, the Yankees have no choice but to move move forward. “Like after Ruth, Gehrig, Mantle … life goes on,” said Joe Girardi to reporters Saturday. Jeter may be gone but Alex Rodriguez is back — A-Rod will play in his first Opening Day since 2012 this afternoon. He was hurt on Opening Day 2013 and suspended last year.

The Yankees have lost their last three and five of their last six Opening Days, yet they are still 75-38 all-time on the first day of the season. They’re also 20-3 in their last 23 home openers. That is pretty ridiculous. Also, someone not named CC Sabathia is starting Opening Day for the Yankees for the first time since Chien-Ming Wang in 2008. The times, man. They are a changin’. Here is Girardi’s very first starting lineup of the new season:

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

The Blue Jays are in town for this three-game season-opening set. Here is their starting lineup.

The weather’s very nice for Opening Day. Partly cloudy with temperatures in the upper-50s/low-60s and just a little bit of wind. What did you expect in early-April? This afternoon’s game is set to begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and ESPN nationally. The baseline introductions are scheduled to start at approximately 12:40pm ET and I’m sure YES will carry those. The road to 162-0 starts today. Enjoy the game, folks. Baseball’s back.

Spring Training Game Thread: The Last Fake Game

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees are in Washington this afternoon for one last spring tune-up game against the Nationals. They’re off tomorrow then will open the 2015 regular season at home against the Blue Jays on Monday afternoon. I’m so ready for the season. Let’s get these last nine innings over with and get the regular season started already.

Today’s reason to watch: Nate Eovaldi! We haven’t seen a whole lot of Eovaldi this spring. He started a bunch of minor league games last month and some of his Grapefruit League starts weren’t televised. Eovaldi threw something like 20 innings last month but only four of five innings were actually watchable, that’s it. Also, Dellin Betances is scheduled to pitch today. It’ll be his last chance to get his mechanics straightened out before the games count for real.

As I said, the Yankees are in Washington to play the Nationals at Nationals Park. A real live Major League stadium with three decks. It’s been too long. Here is the Nats’ lineup and here is the Yanks’ lineup, which is the same lineup I expect to see on Opening Day aside from the starting pitcher:

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

Available Position Players: C John Ryan Murphy, C Austin Romine, IF Gregorio Petit, 1B/OF Garrett Jones, OF Chris Young, C Eddy Rodriguez, 2B Rob Refsnyder, IF Nick Noonan, OF Ramon Flores, OF Ben Gamel, OF Slade Heathcott, and UTIL Jonathan Galvez are all on the lineup card. I’m not sure who’s coming off the bench to play though.

Available Pitchers: RHP Esmil Rogers, RHP Chris Martin, RHP David Carpenter, RHP Dellin Betances, LHP Justin Wilson, LHP Chasen Shreve, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Nick Rumbelow, RHP Jose Ramirez, and LHP Tyler Webb are all on the lineup card. Again, not sure who’s scheduled to pitch aside from Dellin.

It’s sunny but chilly and windy in Washington. Temperatures are only in the mid-50s. There is no YES broadcast for this afternoon’s game but you can watch live on MLB.tv anywhere or MASN in the Nats’ home market. There is no MLB.tv blackout and this is the MLB.tv Free Game of the Day, so you won’t need a subscription to watch either. First pitch is scheduled for just after 1pm ET. Enjoy.

Spring Training Game Thread: Escape from Tampa

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Finally. After six weeks of Spring Training and a month of meaningless yet necessary Grapefruit League games, the Yankees get to leave Tampa later today. They still have one last Grapefruit League game to play first, however. Only nine innings to freedom!

Today’s reason to watch: CC Sabathia is starting and these days he’s a must watch not because he’s a dominant ace, but because we’re looking for signs of improvement. Sabathia’s had a rough spring and I’m not too concerned about the stats. His velocity has been better but his location has been bad. He needs to iron that out. Like, right now. His next start will be Game Three of the regular season.

The poor Nationals had to make the two-hour bus trip across Florida for this afternoon’s game. They have to bus all the way back to Viera after the game, then fly up to Washington for tomorrow’s exhibition game against the Yankees at Nationals Park. Crummy travel day for them. Such is life. Here is the Nats’ lineup and here is the Yanks’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. SS Didi Gregorius
  3. DH Brian McCann
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Garrett Jones
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. CF Chris Young
  8. 2B Gregorio Petit
  9. C John Ryan Murphy
    LHP CC Sabathia

Available Position Players: C Austin Romine, 1B Jonathan Galvez, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Nick Noonan, 3B Eric Jagielo, LF Ben Gamel, CF Slade Heathcott, RF Ramon Flores, and DH Stephen Drew will be the second string off the bench. C Eddy Rodriguez and IF Dan Fiorito are the extra players.

Available Pitchers: LHP Chasen Shreve, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Branden Pinder, RHP Cesar Vargas, and RHP Nick Goody are all listed as available while LHP Tyler Webb, RHP Nick Rumbelow, RHP Chris Martin, RHP Danny Burawa, and RHP Jose Ramirez are listed as the extra arms.

The last day in Tampa is a nice one. Clear sky and temperatures in the mid-80s with only a little bit of humidity. The weather this spring was pretty great. This afternoon’s game will begin just after 1pm ET and you can watch live on YES and MLB.tv. Apparently this is the MLB.tv Free Game of the Day too, so you don’t need a subscription to watch. The game won’t be blacked out in the Yankees’ home market on MLB.tv. Enjoy the last game from George M. Steinbrenner Field of 2015.

Spring Training Dual Game Thread: Big Mike and the Split Squads

BIG MIKE IS HERE

The Yankees finally get to leave Florida tomorrow — they will make a quick one-game stop in Washington to play the Nationals on Saturday before arriving in New York — but they have to play three games before fleeing Tampa, including two this afternoon. Half the team is home in Tampa to play the Pirates and the other half is 45 minutes up the road in Lakeland to play the Tigers. There will be video broadcasts of both games too, so hooray for two Yankees games at the same time!

Reason to watch today’s home game: Big Mike! He’ll be on the mound making his final spring tune-up start. Dellin Betances is also scheduled to pitch and he’s still working through whatever’s been hampering him in camp. Stephen Drew is playing shortstop for the first time this spring — he told reporters yesterday he hasn’t even taken grounders at short, though Brendan Ryan‘s calf injury means the Yankees need Drew to be an option there. Also, Alex Rodriguez is starting at first base for the second time this spring. And finally, old buddy A.J. Burnett will be on the bump for the Pirates. It’s already been three years since he was traded away. Time flies.

Here is the starting lineup for the home game against the Buccos:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. 1B Alex Rodriguez
  3. C Brian McCann
  4. DH Austin Romine
  5. RF Garrett Jones
  6. LF Chris Young
  7. SS Stephen Drew
  8. 2B Rob Refsnyder
  9. 3B Eric Jagielo
    RHP Michael Pineda

Available Position Players: 1B Greg Bird, 2B Tyler Wade, SS Cito Culver, LF Ben Gamel, CF Jake Cave, and RF Aaron Judge will be the second string off the bench. Romine is also scheduled to move from DH to catcher. C Jesus Aparicio, C Radley Haddad, IF Dan Fiorito, and UTIL Jose Rosario are the extra bodies.

Available Pitchers: RHP David Carpenter, LHP Andrew Miller, RHP Dellin Betances, and RHP Jose Ramirez are all scheduled to pitch. RHP Branden Pinder, LHP Chasen Shreve, and LHP Fred Lewis are the extra arms.

Reason to watch today’s road game: Didi Gregorius returns to the lineup after missing a few days with a minor wrist sprain. He landed on it awkwardly last week and was able to go through a full workout yesterday with no issues. Some rarely seen minor leaguers are scheduled to come off the bench as well. That’s pretty much it for this game. Here is the starting lineup:

  1. SS Didi Gregorius
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. 1B Mark Teixeira
  4. C John Ryan Murphy
  5. RF Ramon Flores
  6. CF Slade Heathcott
  7. LF Taylor Dugas
  8. DH Kyle Roller
  9. 2B Nick Noonan
    RH Bryan Mitchell

Available Position Players: C Eddy Rodriguez, 1B Jonathan Galvez, 2B Ali Castillo, SS Cole Figueroa, 3B Dante Bichette Jr., LF Dustin Fowler, CF Mason Williams, and RF Mark Payton will come off the bench to replace the starters. C Kyle Higashioka, UTIL Collin Slaybaugh, and IF Vince Conde are the extra players.

Available Pitchers: RHP Kyle Davies, RHP Danny Burawa, LHP Jacob Lindgren, RHP Diego Moreno, and LHP Tyler Webb will following Mitchell out of the bullpen. RHP Kyle Haynes is the lonely extra arm.

The weather for both games will be the same: a little cloudy will temperatures in the low-80s and a bunch of humidity. Both games will start at 1:05pm ET and you can watch the home game against the Pirates on YES and the road game against the Tigers on ESPN. Both games will be on MLB.tv as well. There won’t be any blackouts in the various home markets for ESPN or MLB.tv. Enjoy the games.

Spring Training Game Thread: Ellsbury’s Return

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

After spending two weeks sidelined by a minor oblique injury, Jacoby Ellsbury returns to Grapefruit League play this afternoon. He played went through the usual rehab progression — dry swings, hit off a tee and soft toss, hit in the batting cage, full batting practice on the field — before playing in a minor league game yesterday, which he came through just fine. Ellsbury has four spring games remaining to get tuned up for the season.

Today’s reason to watch: Ellsbury’s return, first and foremost. Missing two weeks isn’t a huge deal, but it is Spring Training, so he does have some catching up to do. Also, Chase Whitley and Chasen Shreve will make either their last or second to last appearances before the final two bullpen spots are decided. This might be their last chance to make a statement.

The Rays are up from Port Charlotte for this afternoon’s game. Here is Tampa Bay’s lineup and here is Joe Girardi‘s starting lineup:

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

Available Position Players: C John Ryan Murphy, 1B Garrett Jones, 2B Rob Refsnyder, SS Nick Noonan, 3B Cole Figueroa, LF Taylor Dugas, CF Jake Cave, and RF Ramon Flores will be the second string off the bench. C Austin Romine and C Eddy Rodriguez are the extra players.

Available Pitchers: RHP Esmil Rogers, LHP Chasen Shreve, RHP Andrew Bailey, RHP Nick Rumbelow, RHP Jose Ramirez, and LHP Tyler Webb are all scheduled to pitch. LHP Jacob Lindgren, RHP Diego Moreno, and LHP Fred Lewis are the extra arms.

It’s a little cloudy in Tampa but there’s no rain in the forecast and the temperature is in the low-80s. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch live on YES and MLB.tv. The game won’t be blacked out on MLB.tv in either team’s home market. Enjoy.

Spring Training Game Thread: Tanaka’s Last Tune-Up

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

Six days from now, Masahiro Tanaka will open the 2015 season for the Yankees at home against the Blue Jays after being named the Opening Day starter last week. This afternoon will be his final tune-up of the spring, and really it’s more about Tanaka getting his pitch count up than anything. His stuff and command have looked fine. Tanaka just needs to stretch it out up over 80 pitches this afternoon.

Today’s reason to watch: Tanaka! I’m not sure why anyone would need any more reason than that, but, if you do, prospects Rob Refsnyder, Greg Bird, and Eric Jagielo will play today as well.

The Yankees are in Fort Myers this afternoon to play the Twins, and not many regulars made the two-hour bus trip south even after yesterday’s off-day. The last thing they need is someone developing back spasms after spending four hours on a bus a week before the season. Here is the Twins’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Brendan Ryan
  3. CF Chris Young
  4. 1B Garrett Jones
  5. C Austin Romine
  6. 2B Rob Refsnyder
  7. RF Ramon Flores
  8. SS Nick Noonan
  9. DH Eric Jagielo

Available Position Players: C Eddy Rodriguez, 1B Greg Bird, LF Taylor Dugas, and CF Mason Williams will be the second string off the bench. Jagielo is also slated to move from DH to third base. 1B/C Francisco Arcia, IF Dan Fiorito, OF Mark Payton, and UTIL Collin Slaybaugh are the extra players.

Available Pitchers: RHP Chris Martin, RHP Danny Burawa, RHP Branden Pinder, RHP Cesar Vargas, and RHP Nick Goody are all scheduled to pitch. RHP Kyle Haynes, RHP Chris Smith, and RHP Alex Smith are the extra arms.

The weather this spring has been pretty great and it continues today. It’s nice and sunny with temperatures in the low-80s in Fort Myers this afternoon. Today’s game will begin just after 1:05pm ET and you can watch live on both MLB Network and MLB.tv. Neither will be blacked out in the Yankees’ home market. Also, if you happen to live in the Twins’ market, you can watch on FOX Sports North. Enjoy the game.