The New York Yankees, fresh off a two-game sweep over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park this week, will face another early season test when the AL East-leading Baltimore Orioles come to the Bronx tonight for the first game of a three-game set.
The Yankees (13-7) have the third best record in the majors behind Washington (16-6) and Baltimore (14-6). This weekend’s matchup of the teams with the two best records in the AL will be the first time that two AL East teams have each won at least 13 of their first 20 games since the Yankees (13-7) and Rays (15-5) did it back in 2010.
The Yankees’ pitching, which was a huge question mark coming into the season, is leading the way. The Yanks lead the majors with a 2.90 team ERA (174.0IP, 56ER) and their .214 opponents’ BA (137-for-640) is also best in the both leagues.
CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.70) will open the series vs the Orioles’ Kevin Gausman (1-2, 7.50) tonight. Michael Pineda (2-1, 3.86) face off against Ubaldo Jiménez (1-0, 5.95) on Saturday afternoon while rookie Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 3.78) closes out the series Sunday afternoon against Wade Miley (1-1, 2.08).
The Yankees bullpen is fresh for the first time all year. They did not use any relievers in their victory over Boston last night. It was the first time the bullpen hasn’t been used in a game since July 15, 2015. Masahiro Tanaka pitched a three-hit, complete game shutout, the first complete game shutout by a Yankees starter at Fenway since Mike Mussina did it on August 28, 2002.
The Yankees are 8-1 (.889) at Yankee Stadium this season, which is the best home winning percentage in MLB. Their 8-1 record on their first homestand of the season was their best since going 9-1 in July of 2009.
After the Orioles ship out, the Yankees will host the struggling Toronto Blue Jays for a three-game set beginning Monday night.
OF Aaron Hicks has 4HR in his last 9G and 9HR in his last 47 games…INF Starlin Castro has nine multi-hit games and his .346 BA is second in the AL…OF Jacoby Ellsbury had his 25-game on base streak snapped this week in Boston…INF Ronald Torreyes has a career-high 13RBI in 19 games this season…3B Chase Headley is batting .329 (23-for-70) with 15 runs, 6 doubles, 3HR, 7RBI and 11 walks in 20 games this season…Bombers are 10-2 in the 12 games started by C Austin Romine, who leads the Majors with a 2.68 catcher’s ERA.
SS Didi Gregorius is expected to make his 2017 debut. He was activated from the 10-day disabled list this afternoon. In five games on his rehab assignment with Single-A Tampa, Gregorius hit .444 (8-for-18) with 2 runs, 1 double, 1HR, 2RBI, 1BB and 1SB, with multiple hits in four of those five games. Pete Kozma was designated for assignment to make room for Gregorius on the roster.