The Yankees have a day/night doubleheader today against the Toronto Blue Jays, and if they hope to scramble back into the Wild Card race, they pretty much have to sweep the four-game series. There are 39 games left in the season for the Yankees to make up a 6.5 game deficit in the Wild Card; they cannot afford to give games away to the cellar-dwelling Jays. Their worst-case in this series has to involve taking three of four. Playing mediocre ball against subpar teams is a surefire way to make the magic number dwindle.
Here's who the Yankees will send out in the first game of the doubleheader:
Today's Game 1 NYY lineup: pic.twitter.com/4Z2hKaWdwB— Mark Feinsand (@FeinsandNYDN) August 20, 2013
Preston Claiborne returns to the Yankees as the 26th man for the doubleheader today, and he will return to his post as the Earl of Scranton after tonight. Righty Esmil Rogers pitches for the Blue Jays, so the triple lefty threat of Brett Gardner, Ichiro Suzuki, and Robinson Cano sits at the top of the lineup and Lyle Overbay starts instead of Mark Reynolds. Rogers has a 119 ERA- and 112 FIP- on the season, so they have no excuses for getting shut down by him this afternoon.
Eduardo Nunez will sit during the first game in favor of Jayson Nix so that he can receive treatment for his tight hamstring, incurred during Sunday night's victory over the Red Sox. He had an MRI yesterday that came back negative, so that's good news. The Yankees are hoping he can play shortstop in the nightcap, but they will not know for sure until later this afternoon. The Yankees are going to need all the help they can get with veteran lefty Mark Buehrle pitching the second game against the struggling Phil Hughes.
Derek Jeter will reportedly run the bases in a simulated game today, the first time we've heard reports of him running since he injured his calf. That does not mean that he will necessarily be ready to go for this weekend's series against the Rays in Tampa. The Yankees have to make sure he's healthy and not constantly on the precipice of re-injury. Hopefully, he will not be rushed back into the lineup again.