Roughly 17 hours after a marathon 18 inning victory against the Chicago Cubs, the New York Yankees face another round of National League baseball, taking on the Cincinnati Reds in a quick two game series. Both division leaders (yes, the Reds are first in the NL Central, like we all predicted) come in riding five game win streaks, so something's got to give in the series opener.
Cincinnati, a team nearly everyone thought would be among the worst teams in baseball this season, have clawed to an early lead in the NL Central on the strength of the Senior Circuit's second best offense by wRC+. Joining the perennially outstanding Joey Votto among the club's best hitters are third baseman Eugenio Suarez and shortstop Zack Cozart, both posting healthy 166 wRC+ through the season's first month. The Reds may play in a bandbox but numbers like that hold up anywhere.
The team's pitching has been average at best, however, with a 4.27 ERA and 4.36 FIP, which may open the door for the Yankees' sterling lineup to build up the type of lead we saw Saturday against the Cubs. Rookie Rookie Davis, the main prospect in the Aroldis Chapman trade, will get the start for Cincinnati, looking to improve on a slow start to his first season.
The big question tonight, however, is how weary New York is following the drawn out Sunday Night Baseball adventure in Chicago. After burning through seven pitchers last night, the Yankees need Masahiro Tanaka to give them a long outing to provide a depleted bullpen some rest. Dellin Betances threw 19 pitches last night, and Tyler Clippard just 17, and while they may be available in relief, Joe Girardi would likely prefer 8 simple, strong innings from Tanaka instead.
Roster Note: Chad Green was recalled from AAA this afternoon and will provide some bullpen depth if needed. Rob Refsnyder was optioned as the corresponding move.
First pitch is at 7:10 EDT tonight, on YES and WFAN.
|NEW YORK YANKEES||CINCINNATI REDS|
|Brett Gardner - LF||Billy Hamilton - CF|
|Aaron Hicks - RF||Zack Cozart - SS|
|Matt Holliday - 1B||Joey Votto - 1B|
|Jacoby Ellsbury - CF||Adam Duvall - LF|
|Gary Sanchez - C||Eugenio Suarez - 3B|
|Didi Gregorius - SS||Scott Schebler - RF|
|Chase Headley - 3B||Jose Peraza - 2B|
|Ronald Torreyes - 2B||Tucker Barnhart - C|
|Masahiro Tanaka - RHP||Rookie Davis - RHP|