After sweeping the three game weekend series against the Royals in Kansas City, the Yankees will now try to win both games of today’s double header against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland. These are makeup games from a rainouts in April.
The Yankees are currently one game ahead of the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East after having won their past five games (they also won the final two games against the Rockies). With both wins of the double dip they could stretch the winning streak to seven.
It is not ideal that they will now have to play a double header because the Yankees have very little quality depth as a result of all of the injuries. However, they have proven to be a resilient team as a result of the replacements playing winning baseball.
The team will utilize the new 26th roster spot for the double header as Corban Joseph, who is making his big league debut, will play first base in the first game, giving Lyle Overbay a needed day off, and second base in the second game, giving Robinson Cano a needed breather. Cano will DH is Game 2. Joseph’s natural position is second and has a .270 average with four homers for AAA.
Joseph’s time with the big club will be short lived as he will have to leave the luxury of the Yankees and go back to AAA after the game.
Alberto Gonzalez, who played 11 games for the Cubs this season, will also be making his Yankees debut as he will be playing shortstop in place of Jayson Nix. Nix was playing instead of Eduardo Nunez (on the DL with a left ribcage tightness) who was playing as a result of Derek Jeter being on the DL.
The Indians are also in first place. They are tied with Tigers with a 20-15 record. Today is an anomaly in Cleveland, in terms of double headers, as one admission will get fans into both games. This will be like the double headers that were regularly scheduled more than 20 years ago.
Vidal Nuno will be making his first major league start in Game 2. in his only appearance of the season, against the Astros, he threw three shutout innings in relief. You never know what you will get out of rookies making their first start, but Nuno had a 1.54 ERA in four starts for AAA Scranton. He also had an outstanding 26 strikeouts to only two walks.
Here is the lineup and pitching matchup for Game 1:
12:05 p.m. YES Network
David Phelps (1-1, 5.02 ERA and allowed two runs in six innings in his last start) vs. RHP. Justin Masterson (3-3, 2.63 ERA). Masterson is Cleveland’s best pitcher.
Brett Gardner CF .259
Ichiro Suzuki LF .263
Robinson Cano 2B .311
Travis Hafner DH .269
Brennan Boesch RF .205
Chris Nelson 3B .172
Corban Joseph 1B .000
Chris Stewart C .254
Alberto Gonzalez SS .000
Game 2 will start about 20 minutes after Game 1 finishes.