Congratulations, folks. After a grueling offseason and spring training that saw several Yankees go down with injuries, we’re finally here -- the eve of the 2019 season. First up this season? The Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles were absolutely dreadful last year, posting a MLB-worst 47-115 record, and they project to be similarly bad again this year. We can stop talking about projections for now though because the season is here. Let’s take a look at the first series, shall we?
Game one: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Andrew Cashner
For Yankee fans, it should be no surprise to see Tanaka in this spot. After Luis Severino went down, Tanaka quickly slid into the top spot in the rotation. He doesn’t have the best track record on Opening Day, though. The right-hander started three previous Opening Day games, and the Yankees went 0-3 in those contests. Hopefully the streak ends tomorrow.
Like the Yankees, the Orioles are also dealing with an injury to their best starter. Alex Cobb was set to go on Opening Day, but a groin injury has landed him on the injured list. Instead, the Yankees will see Andrew Cashner. Last season, Cashner posted a 5.29 ERA in 153 innings with the Orioles.
Game two: James Paxton vs. Nate Karns (opener)
James Paxton is set to make his Yankee regular season debut on Saturday. Big Maple is coming off a year that saw him post a career-best mark in strikeouts with over 11 per 9 innings. He also gave up a career-high 1.29 HR/9 last year, too. We’ll have to wait and see how the power numbers play out after a move to the Bronx.
It looks like we won’t have to wait long to see an opener this season. The Orioles are planning to use one in game two of this series, according to beat writer Joe Trezza. Karns has been a starter throughout his career, but following arm trouble the past few seasons, he’s headed to the bullpen. He currently owns a 4.37 ERA in 310.2 innings since 2013.
Game three: J.A. Happ vs. Dylan Bundy (?)
Happ was fantastic last season with the Yankees, posting a sub-3 ERA in 11 starts. Since 2014, Happ has made at least 25 starts a season, so if history is any indicator of what’s to come, Yankee fans will be seeing quite a bit of the left-hander for the next couple of seasons.
Dylan Bundy is the best guess as to who will throw the third game of this series for the Orioles, but it hasn’t been confirmed as of this writing. He threw on Monday versus the Mets, so there’s a good chance he’ll be ready to go Sunday. Bundy had an atrocious spring, allowing 19 runs in 21.2 innings. From what I can tell, Bundy likes to work on individual pitches during spring training, so maybe take those stats with a grain of salt.