A closer look at McFarland and tonight’s start

If you had June 28 as the date of T.J. McFarland’s first major league start, step up to the window and collect your money. No shoving, please.

Manager Buck Showalter dropped a few hints about McFarland this week, but Kevin Gausman still seemed to be the choice. At least, that’s how most of the beat crew read it.

Showalter did pause when asked about Gausman’s candidacy. More than once. And he brought up all the left-handers in the Yankees lineup.

The Yankees are batting .233 vs. lefties this season, which ranks 24th in the majors. Their .642 OPS ranks 28th.

Rangers southpaw Derek Holland shut them out yesterday on only two hits. It didn’t get past Showalter.

McFarland will be challenged to get deep into the game, considering he’s never worked more than 4 1/3 innings, but the bullpen is set up to assist him. That includes Gausman.

How much longer will Gausman be here? Wei-Yin Chen could be activated from the disabled list after Saturday’s start at Double-A Bowie. And, when asked about Gausman being available in relief, Showalter replied, “For tomorrow’s game, yup.”

Only for this game? Am I reading too much into it?

Gausman needs to start pitching again. It’s been more than a week. Get the kid in a rotation.

Going back to McFarland, he appeared in one game against the Yankees and didn’t allow a run in two innings. He gave up one hit, walked one and struck out three.

Left-handed hitters have posted a .250/.278/.471 line against McFarland, compared to .270/.342/.360 by right-handers.

McFarland has let 11 of 17 inherited runners score. He’s much better when entering in a clean inning. And it doesn’t get any cleaner than a start.

Meanwhile, second baseman Brian Roberts will remain at Triple-A Norfolk tonight rather than be activated from the disabled list. Maybe it happens Saturday. More likely, it happens Sunday, which is later than anticipated.

Ryan Flaherty will remain in the lineup tonight against Yankees right-hander David Phelps. He’s batting .480 during a seven-game hitting streak, with 12 hits in 25 at-bats.

“When you succeed, confidence builds,” he said. “We kind of feed off each other. When you have some success, confidence builds.

“Offensively, defensively, I’m just trying to do something to help the team win.”

And stay on the 25-man roster, even when Roberts comes back.

“That’s up to someone else,” he said.

Catcher Matt Wieters went 2-for-4 with a double, an RBI and two runs scored - his first two-hit game since June 13 against the Red Sox. He was 4-for-34 in the 10 games between his two-hit games.

Plenty of fans noticed that Wieters winced a few times during an at-bat in Wednesday night’s game before flying to the warning track in left field. I asked him about it yesterday.

“I just took one awkward swing and felt it for five minutes,” he said, “and it was fine after that.”

Wieters is 3-for-7 with two home runs and four RBIs against Phelps. J.J. Hardy is 4-for-9.

Adam Jones provided arguably the best quote of the night while addressing the play at second base that caused him to be called out.

“You saw what happened,” he said. “Ninety-nine percent of the time, you’re out on that play. I left the bag. Honest mistake. It didn’t cost us, didn’t hurt us, but I know there are a lot of good baserunners on Twitter now. And I’m also a great wide receiver and a general manager and a Fortune 500 business owner.”

The man knows his social media.

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