Game Five: Sabathia’s Season Debut

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees said all throughout Spring Training the fifth starter’s spot was up for grabs, but when it was all said and done, the job went to the guy I think most of expected it would go to: CC Sabathia. The veteran southpaw beat out Ivan Nova despite inferior numbers because he finished the Grapefruit League season well, and also because he’s CC Sabathia and making $25M a year. Money talks, yo.

This afternoon the Yankees will have their normal middle of the lineup back in there, which is good because the offense looked pretty helpless yesterday. That’s usually what happens when you sit three of your best hitters. Even with that shutout loss yesterday, the Yankees currently lead in the AL in runs scored and are fifth in MLB overall. The offense is quite good when everyone’s on the field. Here is the Tigers’ 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. 2B Starlin Castro
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 3B Ronald Torreyes
    LHP CC Sabathia

This is going to be another cold one. Temperatures in Detroit are in the 30s and the wind is going to make it feel like it’s in the 20s. There is snow in the forecast later today, though it doesn’t look like anything that will impact the game. At least as long as it doesn’t go to extra innings. This afternoon’s game is scheduled to begin at 1pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Game Four: Severino Friday

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

For the first time this season, the Yankees are on the road away from Yankee Stadium. They begin a six-game road trip this afternoon in Detroit — today is the Tigers’ home opener — against a Tigers team that is looking to go back to the postseason after finishing in last place a year ago. The Tigers had basically the opposite offseason of the Yankees. They spent big on free agents to plug their roster holes.

Enough about the Tigers though. Young Luis Severino is on the mound this afternoon, and based on his limited work last season, you could argue he is the Yankees’ best starting pitcher. I’m not sure I’d go that far just yet, but the point is he’s in the conversation. Soon it could be crystal clear. Severino’s importance to the Yankees both in the short and long-term can not be overstated. He’s a hugely critical piece of the puzzle. Here is the Tigers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup, which looks very much like the lineup you’d expect to see for a day game following a night of travel:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. 2B Starlin Castro
  4. DH Mark Teixeira
  5. 1B Dustin Ackley
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. SS Didi Gregorius
  8. RF Aaron Hicks
  9. C Austin Romine
    RHP Luis Severino

It’s sunny — cold, but sunny — in Detroit right now, and there is some rain and snow in the forecast later tonight. It looks like the wet stuff will stay away long enough for them to get the game in, thankfully. Could be a problem if they go to extra innings though. Today’s game will begin just after 1pm ET and you can watch on YES. Enjoy.

Bullpen Update: Joe Girardi said Ivan Nova, who threw 56 pitches Wednesday night, will not be available today or tomorrow. He should be good to go by Sunday though.

Lineup Update: Girardi said everyone is healthy, he’s just resting his veterans. “I’m trying to stay ahead of it … I’m not running out a bunch of 25 and 26-year-old kids,” said the skipper to Erik Boland. The Yankees have been talking about giving their regulars more rest since the end of last season.

Game Three: Rain, Rain, Go Away

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The good news: the Yankees have a baseball game today! The bad news: it’s raining in New York. The other good news: it’s supposed to stop raining at some point! There are going to be on and off showers the rest of the afternoon and into the evening, but the forecast does make it seem there will be a large enough window for today’s game to be played. The field may be sloppy, but so it goes.

The Astros are not scheduled to return to Yankee Stadium this year, so expect the two teams to wait this one out as long as necessary. If the game does indeed have to be postponed, the good news is the Astros have to come to New York. The travel wouldn’t be tough for the Yankees. The two clubs have eight mutual off-days this summer. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. Here is the ‘Stros lineup — as expected, Michael Feliz was send down for a fresh arm following last night’s 107-pitch relief outing (!) — and here is the Yanks’ 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 Starlin Castro
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Nathan Eovaldi

Like I said, the weather is pretty yucky in the Boogie Down. It’s been raining most of the afternoon and there will be occasional showers throughout the rest of the day. Hopefully they can squeeze in nine innings, or at least four and a half if the Yankees have the lead. Today’s game is scheduled to begin a little after 4pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.

Update: The Yankees say they intend to begin today’s game at 4:15pm ET. Hopefully that’s the only delay.

Game Two: Big Mike and the Astros

BIG MIKE IS HERE

Now that the Yankees have gotten their annual Opening Day loss out of the way, I feel like the real season is about to begin. Michael Pineda is on the mound making his 2016 debut tonight, and I know I’m not the only one expecting big things from Big Mike. It’s time to take that next step towards the front of the rotation. The raw ability is there. It’s obvious. Some things need to be fine-tuned, however.

The Yankees scored three runs on Opening Day and really, that makes the offense seem better than it really was. They had one only base-runner following Brian McCann‘s leadoff single in the fourth inning, and that was Didi Gregorius‘ eighth inning homer. Homers are cool. I’d like to see more than one solo shot in the span of six innings, however. Here is the Astros’ 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 Starlin Castro
  9. SS Didi Gregorius
    RHP Michael Pineda

It is cold and windy in New York tonight. Not quite as cold as yesterday, but, you know, cold. There’s no rain in the forecast thankfully. Tonight’s game is scheduled to begin a bit after 7pm ET and you can watch on YES. Those of you in-market can stream the game online with FOX Sports Go, assuming you subscribe to YES through your cable provider. Enjoy the game, everyone.

Protest Update: Joe Girardi said the Yankees never bothered to officially file a protest with the league following yesterday’s game. It wouldn’t have mattered anyway. The umpires weren’t wrong.

Game One: Opening Day

The baseball gods teased us yesterday. The Yankees and Astros were ready to open the 2016 season Monday, but it rained and was pretty nasty in New York all day, so we waited. One more day we had to wait. Today, the waiting is over. The Yankees return to action this afternoon, fittingly against the Astros, the same team that beat them in the AL wildcard game last year.

Over the winter the Yankees did not sign a single Major League free agent, and they only made four five trades that directly impacted the big league roster. They have a new second baseman, a new fourth outfielder, some new middle relievers, and a new closer. The closer, of course, is 30 days away from joining the team. So the Yankees do have some new faces this year. They also look pretty similar to last season.

The Yankees are 63-49-1 all-time on Opening Day — they’re 20-4 in their last 24 home openers — but they’ve lost four straight and six of their last seven Opening Days. This afternoon they’re trying to avoid their first five-game Opening Day losing streak since 1934-38. Crazy, huh? Here is manager Joe Girardi‘s first lineup of the new season:

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

Like I said, the Astros are in town for the first series of the year this season. Here is their lineup.

Unlike yesterday, the sky is clear and it is nice and sunny this afternoon. It’s cold — temperatures are in the high-30s — and windy, so it’s not great baseball weather, but it’ll do. This afternoon’s game will begin at 1:05pm ET and you can watch on YES locally and ESPN nationally. Also, the MLB Extra Innings package is in a free preview this week, so all you have to do is find the channels. The road to the 28th World Series title in franchise history begins today, folks. Enjoy the game.

Spring Training Dual Game Thread: So Long, Tampa

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

The Yankees play their final games of the Grapefruit League season this afternoon, and you know, everything was going well until yesterday, when Andrew Miller took a line drive to the wrist and Bryan Mitchell managed to break his toe covering first. Just like that, the Yankees are down two of their seven projected Opening Day relievers. Miller says he plans to pitch through the injury, but we’ll see.

What are you going to do? That’s baseball. The goal today is to get through the split squad games healthy and make it to Miami for the upcoming exhibition games at Marlins Park without the bus bursting into flames. You know, those two games in Marlins Park will not be televised. How do two Major League teams play two games in a Major League ballpark with no cameras in the year 2016?

Ron Swanson

Anyway, the stupid Cardinals are in stupid Tampa to play half the Yankees this afternoon while the other half of the Yankees are in stupid Lakeland to play the stupid Tigers. Here is the Cardinals’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for the home game:

  1. CF Aaron Hicks
  2. RF Carlos Beltran
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. C Brian McCann
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 2B Dustin Ackley
  8. SS Ronald Torreyes
  9. LF Cesar Puello
    RHP Michael Pineda

Available Pitchers: LHP Aroldis Chapman, RHP Anthony Swarzak, and RHP Branden Pinder are all scheduled to pitch. LHP Matt Tracy, LHP James Reeves, and RHP Vinnie Pestano are also available.

Available Position Players: C Eddy Rodriguez, 1B Chris Gittens, 2B Donovan Solano, SS Jonathan Diaz, 3B Billy Fleming, LF Lane Adams, CF Ben Gamel, RF Mark Payton, and DH Carlos Corporan will replace the regulars off the bench. C Sebastian Valle, IF Vicente Conde, and OF Carlos Vidal are the extra players.

I imagine Joe Girardi is hanging back in Tampa to keep tabs on the all the regulars. Now here is the Tigers’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for the road game:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. SS Didi Gregorius
  3. 2B Starlin Castro
  4. C Austin Romine
  5. 3B Pete Kozma
  6. RF Aaron Judge
  7. 1B Chris Parmelee
  8. LF Tyler Austin
  9. DH Trey Amburgey
    RHP Chad Green

Available Pitchers: LHP Tyler Webb, RHP Conor Mullee, LHP James Pazos, and RHP Diego Moreno are all going to pitch after Green. RHP Dillon McNamara and RHP Mark Montgomery are the extra arms.

Available Position Players: C Gary Sanchez, 2B Jose Rosario, SS Jorge Mateo, 3B Rob Refsnyder, and CF Dustin Fowler will be the second string. C Francisco Diaz, C Radley Haddad, IF Dan Fiorito, OF Jake Skole, and OF Juan Silva drew the short straws and had to make the trip even though they aren’t scheduled to play.

Both games today will begin a little after 1pm ET. The weather in Tampa is a little better than the weather in Lakeland — cloudy with temperatures in the mid-80s — but there’s no rain in the forecast in either city, and that’s all that matters. You can watch the home game on YES, MLB Network, and MLB.tv. You can watch the road game on FOX Sports Detroit if you live in the Tigers’ home market, otherwise your only option is MLB.tv. Enjoy the last Grapefruit League games of the year.

Spring Training Dual Game Thread: Tanaka & Sabathia

(Presswire)
(Presswire)

If you believe everything the Yankees have been saying about their rotation, today is the single most important day of Spring Training. CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka are starting a pair of split squad games. The former is trying to win a rotation spot, the latter is trying to show enough to earn the Opening Day start. That’s what the Yankees say, anyway. Consider me skeptical.

Both of today’s games will be televised, meaning we’ll get to watch two games at the same time. That’s always a treat. Sabathia and most of the regulars will be at home in Tampa to play the Pirates, who made the trip down from Bradenton. The other half of the team — Tanaka and a bunch of minor leaguers, basically — will be on the other side of the causeway playing the Phillies in Clearwater. Here is the Pirates’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup for the home game:

  1. CF Jacoby Ellsbury
  2. LF Brett Gardner
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. 3B Chase Headley
  7. 2B Starlin Castro
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. C Austin Romine
    LHP CC Sabathia

Available Pitchers: RHP Nick Goody, RHP Branden Pinder, RHP Johnny Barbato, RHP Vinnie Pestano, and RHP Jonathan Holder are all available, but I’m not sure who’s actually going to pitch. Today would be back-to-back days for Goody and Barbato.

Available Position Players: C Gary Sanchez, 1B Billy Fleming, 2B Jonathan Diaz, SS Tyler Wade, 3B Vicente Conde, LF Trey Amburgey, CF Jake Skole, RF Juan Silva, and DH Dan Fiorito will be the second string off the bench.

Sabathia is the most important storyline to watch in the home game. He had a good start last time out — I can’t believe we’re so focused on Spring Training performance, good grief — but the few before that were rough. Ivan Nova‘s tough start last time out all but clinched the last rotation spot for Sabathia, though you still want to see the big man pitch well today, in his last start before the regular season. This start is important enough that Joe Girardi stayed behind to watch. Now here is the Phillies’ lineup and the Yankees’ lineup for the road game:

  1. CF Aaron Hicks
  2. SS Ronald Torreyes
  3. C Brian McCann
  4. DH Carlos Corporan
  5. 1B Dustin Ackley
  6. 2B Pete Kozma
  7. RF Cesar Puello
  8. 3B Miguel Andujar
  9. LF Ben Gamel
    RHP Masahiro Tanaka

Available Pitchers: RHP Anthony Swarzak and RH Kirby Yates are also scheduled to pitch. LHP Caleb Frare, RHP Gio Gallegos, RHP Connor Mullee, LHP Caleb Smith, LHP Matt Tracy, and RHP Matt Wotherspoon are up from minor league camp and on the trip as well.

Available Position Players: C Eddy Rodriguez, C Francisco Diaz, 1B/OF Tyler Austin, IF Cito Culver, IF Jose Rosario, OF Dustin Fowler, OF Michael O’Neill, and OF Mark Payton are on the bench. Not sure who is scheduled to play though.

Again, the starting pitcher is the key here. Tanaka has not pitched well the last few times out and the Yankees have put some pressure on him to increase his intensity. It’s kinda funny the Yankees go to such great lengths to rest Tanaka and keep him healthy, but now they’re worried about his intensity during Grapefruit League games. Pitching coach Larry Rothschild will be on the road with Tanaka, and will surely report what he sees back to Girardi and the front office.

Both of today’s games will begin around 1pm ET, and the weather in Tampa and Clearwater is basically the same. It’s cloudy and cool, and the internet tells me there will be on and off rain all afternoon. (The chance of rain is higher in Tampa than Clearwater.) Hopefully nothing forces a delay or cancellation. The home game will be on YES and MLB.tv. The road game will be MLB Network and MLB.tv. There is no MLB Network blackout in the Tri-State Area for this one. Enjoy the games.

Update (1:28pm ET): The game is Tampa is underway, but the game in Clearwater is in a rain delay. The Phillies say the game is scheduled to begin at 1:40pm ET.