The Yankees go for a crucial series victory today over the Baltimore Orioles as they attempt to move ahead of the O's in the standings for the first time since July 6th. Here's the lineup Joe Girardi will send out against groundball pitcher Scott Feldman, who they have not faced since he was on the Rangers over a year ago:
Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Curtis Granderson LF
Mark Reynolds 1B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C- LoHud
After starting against righty Miguel Gonzalez last night, Reynolds again finds his way into the lineup with the righty Feldman on the mound. Although Lyle Overbay has been awesome against righties this year, Girardi is sticking with the hotter hitter. Over the past week, Reynolds is 9-for-19 with three doubles and a homer (.474/.474/.789) while Overbay has battled illness and has an 0-for-11. It's understandable to stick with Reynolds, especially since he's six years younger and Overbay might be wearing down (after four more games, he'll have appeared in his most games since 2010).
Stewart gets the start over Austin Romine in the day game after the night game, and Soriano gets DH duties while the outfield goes with a Granderson/Gardner/Ichiro alignment. Granderson has homered against Feldman three times in his career in just 15 plate appearances. Jeter, A-Rod, Reynolds, and Vernon Wells have also all homered against him in minimal action, though Wells has not faced him since he was actually a productive player in 2010. The last time Nova faced the Orioles was the beginning of his resurgence, a complete game three-hit victory with 11 strikeouts on July 5th. Pitching against the Orioles in the same location at Yankee Stadium, Nova will hope to continue that momentum.
After taking a few games off due to injury, Eduardo Nunez will be ready for backup duty if needed today. In that same tweet, Daniel Barbarisi reported that the Yankees are not quite sure how many players will be immediately called up tomorrow when rosters expand. Joel Sherman said yesterday that Triple-A Scranton catcher J.R. Murphy would likely be recalled to be the Yankees' third catcher, but the Yankees could wait until the Triple-A season ends. Obviously, the MLB club is most important though, so that really shouldn't matter.
ESPN's Mike Mazzeo had some concerning tweets about CC Sabathia's velocity, which has been in decline over the past few years. This fact was quite apparent last night, when Mazzeo compared it to his velocity at starts around the same time in 2012 and 2011:
On Aug. 30, 2011, Sabathia was averaging 96.13 mph on his four-seamer. 8/29/12 93.01. 8/30/13 92.25. #Yankees— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) August 31, 2013
Yikes. It's not a huge difference between 2012 and 2013, but this accompanying tweet comparing his velocity to his most recent start against the Rays made it worse:
CC Sabathia's average four-seam fastball velocity last night was 92.25 mph, per http://t.co/bykKqc8kPP. Was 94.07 mph vs. #Rays. #Yankees— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) August 31, 2013
Hopefully CC still has some energy left in the tank for September; the Yankees really need him to not look like crap as he did last night if they want to make a last-ditch run at the playoffs. CC's sluggish results make Nova starts all the more important since the only starters pitching well of late are him and 41-year-old Andy Pettitte. Given how different CC and Nova appeared in Spring Training, could you imagine that there would ever be sentences like the previous one in 2013? Baseball, man.