Manager: Joe Girardi (10th season)
Last 10 games: 1-2
Who to watch: C Gary Sánchez (.299/.376/.657 with 20 HR, 42 RBIs), 2B Sterlin Castro (.270 with 21 HR, 70 RBIs), 1B/DH Chris Carter (41 HR, 94 RBIs), RHP Masahiro Tanaka (14-4, 3.07 ERA), LHP Arolids Chapman (1.55 ERA with 36 saves)
Season series vs. Orioles: First meeting (9-10 in 2016)
April 7: RHP Luis Severino (3-8, 5.83 ERA) vs. RHP Ubaldo Jiménez (8-12, 5.44 ERA), 7:05 p.m., MASN2
April 8: RHP Masahiro Tanaka (14-4, 3.07 ERA) vs. RHP Kevin Gausman (9-12, 3.61 ERA), 4:05 p.m., MASN
April 9: LHP CC Sabathia (9-12, 3.91 ERA) vs. LHP Wade Miley (9-13, 5.37 ERA), 1:35 p.m., MASN
* Note: Statistics from 2016
Inside the Yankees:
These aren’t the ‘27 Yankees. Heck, these aren’t even the ‘09 Yankees. When Joe Girardi’s club makes its first trip to Baltimore of season this weekend, you may not recognize the team in gray sitting in the visitors dugout.
No more Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira or Nick Swisher, all of whom retired near or at the end of last season. Add upcoming star catcher Gary Sánchez, veteran left fielder-turned-designated hitter Matt Holliday and first baseman/DH Chris Carter, and re-add lefty closer Aroldis Chapman and ta-da: your 2017 Yankees.
Sánchez will receive a lot of attention in New York, and rightfully so after slashing .299/.376/.657 with 20 home runs and 42 RBIs in just 53 games to finish second in last year’s American League Rookie of the Year voting. But Sánchez has been held to just one hit in 14 at-bats to start the season.
The offseason signings of Chapman, Holliday and Carter will have Yankees fans’ attention looking for results. Chapman, now on a five-year, $86 million contract after being traded by the Yanks to the Cubs last season to help Chicago win the World Series, is the only big-name long-term signing, leaving the Yankees set at closer at least until his opt-out after the 2019 season. He brings a combined 1.55 ERA and 36 saves from last season. Holliday and Carter, however, are each on one-year deals for $13 million and $3.5 million, respectively. Holliday hit 20 homers with 62 RBIs for the Cardinals last season, and Carter led the National league with 41 longballs for the Brewers.
Among the names returning this year that Orioles fans will recognize are center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, third baseman Chase Headley and left fielder Brett Gardner, none of whom had any sort of standout season last year. They all hit below .265 and only combined for 30 home runs.
Right-hander Luis Severino will make his regular season debut in tonight’s opener at Camden Yards. He went 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA in 22 games (11 starts) last season and 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA in four games (two starts) against the Orioles. Righty Masahiro Tanaka will make his second start of the season on Saturday after getting roughed up by the Rays on opening day last Sunday. The Rays got to Tanaka for eight hits and seven runs over just 2 2/3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 2.39 ERA over five career starts against the Orioles, but threw eight scoreless innings in his only start against the Birds last season.
CC Sabathia gets the ball for Sunday’s finale at Camden Yards. Sabathia earned the win in the Yankees’ second game by tossing three scoreless innings in Tampa Bay. He had some bad luck against the Orioles last year, however, going 1-3 despite a respectable 2.30 ERA in five starts against the Birds.
The Yankees added some strong pieces to their roster over the offseason, but whether or not these turn into long-term solutions, this season will tell. Many pundits believe the Yanks are biding their time, waiting to make a splash in the big 2018 free agent class.