It has been over a week since the Yankees had a win. Although the season is still incredibly early, that is the very definition of “not a good thing.” Fortunately, the Yankees have a chance to try and turn their season around today, as they open a series against the Atlanta Braves — or, in other words, for the first time in almost two weeks, the Yankees are not playing either the Tampa Bay Rays or the Toronto Blue Jays!
Jameson Taillon (0-1, 7.56 ERA, 6.09 FIP) gets the ball for the Yankees. After looking sharp in his first outing in pinstripes, Taillon looked downright dreadful last week against the Blue Jays, as he gave up five runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings; moreover, he struck out only three batters. Facing a lineup that scored 13 runs on Sunday in a win over the Chicago Cubs, the Yankees hope that Taillon has made the necessary adjustments over the next week and has the command he had in his first outing, or else it might get late early out there.
Facing him will be a familiar foe to the Yankees: former Astros and Rays pitcher Charlie Morton (1-1, 4.76 ERA, 2.62 FIP), who will be making his fourth start of the season. In a small sample size, Morton has been inconsistent so far this year — he gave up a combined four runs in his first two starts (both against the Phillies), but surrendered five in his third outing (against the Miami Marlins). He has, however, done a good job at racking up strikeouts (29.6 K%) and limiting walks (7 BB%), which should make him a difficult matchup for the struggling Yankees offense.
In an effort to try to jump-start that offense, manager Aaron Boone has played around with the starting lineup a bit. First baseman Mike Ford, whom the Yankees promoted from the alternate site earlier today, will get the start at first base; here’s hoping that his new ‘stache allows him to channel the power of Jason Giambi, who famously went on a hot streak in 2008 while sporting one. In a less superstitious move, lefties Mike Tauchman and Brett Gardner get the nod over Aaron Hicks and Clint Frazier; over the course of Morton’s career, lefties have posted an OPS more than 100 points higher than righties, so it makes sense to play the matchup.
Regarding the Braves lineup, Taillon has caught a bit of a break, as Ronald Acuña Jr. will be sitting with a mild abdominal strain; because of this, they will have five players in the lineup with an OPS+ of 68 or below. Reigning NL MVP Freddie Freeman, however, is always a major threat at the plate, and former Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval has three home runs in ten at-bats.
How to watch
Location: Yankee Stadium — Bronx, NY
First pitch: 6:35 p.m. ET
TV broadcast: YES Network
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280
Online stream: MLB.tv
Let’s Go Yankees!