So this series — and the season, really — isn’t going too well right now. The last two days the Yankees have blown the types of games they really can’t afford to blow this season. Their margin for error isn’t big enough to cough up three and four-run leads. Hopefully that ends today.
CC Sabathia, who started New York’s only win of the season last week, is on the mound today. The Orioles have stacked their lineup with righties — Chris Davis is the only lefty in the starting lineup — and that almost kinda plays to Sabathia’s strength nowadays. He pounds righties inside with his cutter and gets them to chase soft stuff away. Here is the Orioles’ lineup and here is the Yankees’ lineup:
- LF Brett Gardner
- CF Aaron Hicks
- DH Matt Holliday
- 1B Chris Carter
- 2B Starlin Castro
- 3B Chase Headley
- RF Aaron Judge
- C Austin Romine
- SS Ronald Torreyes
LHP CC Sabathia
It’s a wonderful day in Baltimore. Sunny and on the cool side. Pretty much perfect baseball weather, as far as I’m concerned. This afternoon’s series finale will begin at 1:35pm ET. You can watch on YES locally and MLB Network nationally. Enjoy the game.
Roster Move: As expected, Kyle Higashioka has been officially called up to replace Gary Sanchez (biceps). He’s wearing No. 38. Congrats to Higashioka for getting to the big leagues after grinding through 9+ years in the minors. Sanchez was placed on the 10-day disabled list following yesterday’s game. He’s going to see the team doctor in New York tomorrow.
Injury Update: Greg Bird (ankle) feels better, though now he’s sick. He had the flu or food poisoning or something like that last night. The Red Sox and Orioles have had the flu go through the clubhouse early this season. Hopefully the Yankees aren’t next.
If you haven’t heard by now–though the collective worried gasp of Yankee fans everywhere yesterday afternoon probably gave it away–Gary Sanchez is injured, and will be going on the 10-day disabled list with a right biceps issue.
This leaves the Yankees with a gaping hole at what is the most important defensive position on the field–where Sanchez has shown great skill–and arguably the most important position in the lineup; slotting Sanchez in second made sense and was a big show of confidence in him by Joe Girardi and the coaching staff. Now, that’s for naught–at least for the next ten days. So, what can the Yankees do in Sanchez’s lineup absence?
My first thought was one I suggested previously, using DH Matt Holliday as the second hitter thanks to his combination of skills. However, without Sanchez to be in the clean up spot–and no one yet reliable enough to take his place–I don’t think that idea works. Holliday should stick at fourth, which is just as important as the second spot. But, since the route they’ll likely take is sticking Jacoby Ellsbury–who’s off to a good start–back into the second slot, giving the Yankees a more traditional look at the top of the lineup, that would mean three lefties–Gardner, Ellsbury, and Greg Bird stacked together, and that could lead to matchup problems late in games. So, I assume Girardi will split the lefties and have Holliday bat third with Bird cleaning up.
The team can go one of two ways with the fifth spot. The first way is to bump Chase Headley up a spot, rewarding him for a hot start. I’d be totally fine with that. The other would be to give the spot to Aaron Judge. This could show faith in him, challenge him, and give him an opportunity to hit behind better players, increasing the likelihood of him batting with men on base. That second option probably isn’t going to happen, but I think that’s the one I’d like, if only to keep up the ‘give the kids a shot’ theme that this season is likely to have.
So, the combination of the most likely scenario/what I’d want to see would look like this:
- Gardner, LF
- Ellsbury, CF
- Holliday, DH
- Bird, 1B
- Judge, RF
- Castro, 2B
- Headley, 3B
- Romine, C
- Torreyes, SS
You could flip Castro and Headley if you like, and I might do the same. But the main takeaway here is that without Sanchez, this lineup seems a whole lot shorter and a whole lot thinner than it did just 24 hours ago. Losing a big bat at a premium position always hurts, and that goes double when a backup quality player–Torreyes–is already in the every day lineup. Get well soon, Gary; the lineup needs you.
- The RHP Dillon Tate mystery has been solved. Josh Norris says he’s dealing with a shoulder issue. That’s why he wasn’t on an Opening Day roster. Sucks. Hopefully it’s minor and he can get back on a mound soon.
- LHP Jordan Montgomery will make his next start with Triple-A Scranton on Tuesday, according to Shane Hennigan. He started for High-A Tampa on Thursday only because the weather forecast in the Northeast was terrible, and the Yankees wanted to make sure he got his work in and remained lined up for April 16th, the first day they need a fifth starter.
Triple-A Scranton (4-2 loss to Buffalo) this is their season opener after a pair of rainouts, so here’s the full lineup per Opening Day tradition
- SS Tyler Wade: 1-4, 1 R
- LF Clint Frazier: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 2 K — keep the extra-base hits coming
- CF Dustin Fowler: 0-4, 1 K
- C Kyle Higashioka: 0-4, 1 RBI, 1 PB, 1 E (fielding) — passed ball and an error, but he also threw out both runners who tried to steal … he’s heading to Baltimore to join the Yankees tomorrow following the C Gary Sanchez injury
- 2B Rob Refsnyder: 1-3, 1 BB — got picked off first … this is now his fourth season at this level
- RF Mason Williams: 2-4
- 3B Donovan Solano: 0-3, 1 RBI, 1 K — he led the International League with 163 hits last season
- 1B Ji-Man Choi: 1-4, 1 K
- DH Mark Payton: 1-3, 1 2B
- RHP Johnny Barbato: 4 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 48 of 76 pitches were strikes (63%) … and thus begins his audition as a starting pitcher
- LHP Jason Gurka: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 21 of 35 pitches were strikes (60%)
- RHP Gio Gallegos: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K — 25 of 38 pitches were strikes (66%)
So what is going well for the Yankees right now? Nothing. Pretty much nothing. The Yankees blew another lead Saturday — this was a three-run lead as opposed to the four-run lead they blew Friday — to drop to 1-4 on the young season. They look every bit as bad as that 1-4 record suggests too. Hopefully this ugly play won’t last much longer. It’s Saturday and it’s a nice night out, so here’s the first bullet point recap of the season:
- An Early Lead: On the bright side, the Yankees actually got to Kevin Gausman on Saturday. He held them to five runs in 41 innings last year. On Saturday, they hung four runs on him in 4.2 innings. Ronald Torreyes singled in a pair in the second inning, the third run scored on a balk, and the fourth on a Starlin Castro single. The Yankees were up 4-1 after the top of the fifth. Yay!
- Tanaka Unravels: For the first four innings Saturday, Masahiro Tanaka looked like the normal Masahiro Tanaka. He allowed just a run on a bloop single through four innings. Then, in the fifth, the first four batters reached base, including Manny Machado, who lined a double off the right field wall. The Orioles loaded the bases with no outs, and Tanaka did well to escape while allowing just one run. Still, that one run cut the lead to 4-3. Tanaka was charged with three runs on six hits, four walks, and a hit batsmen in five innings. His control was better than Opening Day, but not where we saw it all last season.
- The Blown Lead: You have to admire how committed the Yankees are to marginalizing Adam Warren. He relieved Tanaka, retired all four batters he faced on ten pitches, then was pulled to get the left-on-left matchup against Chris Davis, which of course didn’t work. Davis doubled against Tommy Layne and Mark Trumbo singled against Dellin Betances to tie the game. A stolen base and another single drove in the go-ahead run for the Orioles. Warren, meanwhile, has retired all 18 batters he faced this season. Love to slave to platoon matchups.
- Leftovers: In case you missed it, Gary Sanchez is heading to the disabled list with a biceps strain. He hurt himself taking a swing … Castro, Torreyes, and Matt Holliday each had two hits … Brett Gardner had a hit and a walk (and a nice diving catch) while Aaron Hicks had a hit and a two walks … Hicks also had a double taken away by Seth Smith’s nice leaping catch in right field … and finally, congrats to Holliday for reaching 2,000 career hits. He dunked a single to right in the first inning to reach the milestone.
Here are the box score and video highlights, and also make sure you check out our Bullpen Workload page. The Yankees and Orioles will wrap up this three-game series Sunday afternoon. That’s a 1:35pm ET start. It’ll be a battle of veteran lefties on the mound: CC Sabathia and Wade Miley.
8:00pm: Sanchez will be placed on the 10-day disabled list, according to Jack Curry. Sweeny Murti says Higashioka is coming up from Scranton. Following today’s game Joe Girardi said the Yankees will be cautious with Sanchez because the injury is to his throwing arm.
6:02pm: The Yankees say Sanchez has a right biceps strain. Phew. I was worried it his shoulder. They’re not out of the woods yet, but a biceps strain is far more preferable to a shoulder (or elbow) issue. Here’s video of the injury:
Needless to say, losing Sanchez for any length of time would be pretty devastating. He is one of the Yankees’ best hitters despite his relatively slow start to the season, and he’s also their starting catcher. That’s kind of a big deal. Kyle Higashioka is the No. 3 catcher in Triple-A right now. Hopefully Sanchez’s injury is nothing serious and he isn’t needed.
The Yankees have not yet released any sort of update on Sanchez, so stay tuned.
Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The Mets are playing and MLB Network is showing a regional game. The Islanders, Devils, and Nets are all playing as well. Talk about those games, this evening’s loss, or anything else here. Just not religion or politics. Thanks in advance.