A lot can change in three years. The last time Clayton Kershaw pitched against the Yankees was in 2013, when the Dodgers were on their way to the NLCS and the Yankees won 85 games with a banged-up roster. There is a youth movement in the Bronx, but it was a veteran-laden lineup on July 31, 2013.
Brett Gardner led off for the Yankees that day. Batting second was Derek Jeter in one of his 17 games that season. Robinson Cano hit third.
Now some names of guys who haven’t played in several years. Alfonso Soriano was hitting cleanup. Vernon Wells hit fifth. Brent Lillibridge started the game at first and was pinch-hit for by Lyle Overbay. Batting seventh was Jayson Nix.
Current Pirate Chris Stewart hit eighth. And Hiroki Kuroda was on the mound for the Yankees. Melky Mesa (remember him?) had a pinch-hit single.
The Yankees broke a scoreless tie with three runs in the ninth against Ronald Belisario and Paco Rodriguez. Boone Logan got the win. And Mariano Rivera picked up the save.
On Wednesday, some of the Baby a Bombers like Gary Sanchez and Rob Refsnyder will be in the lineup. And they are in a spot which seemed unbelievable at the end of July: chasing a playoff spot.
This will be only the second start for Kershaw after coming back from the DL, and while he won’t be pushed deep into the game, he’s still Clayton Kershaw.
“I think the big thing is, when he gives you an opportunity to hit the ball, you better hit it because his stuff is very good” Joe Girardi said in his pregame press conference. “And you hope that he’s still rusty. I mean, there’s no guarantee that. I’m sure he’s somewhat limited on how many pitches he can go today, so you’ve got to take advantage of every situation you get.”
While the 2013 team won 85 games, the future is brighter now with some young talent and more prospects being developed in the minors.